In a recent Harvard Business Review webinar hosted by Tidemark, Roger Martin, the influential dean of the Rotman School of Management, presented some fascinating insights on how businesses can build and execute a winning strategy.  Since then we’ve seen tremendous demand for viewings of the webinar replay and the executive summary authored by Martin, who co-wrote the award-winning Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works.

If you’re trying to figure out what’s next for your company – or if you just want to examine whether the strategy you’re following is sound – I urge you to view the replay and read the summary. Both are complimentary, and both are very much worth your time.

In each, Martin describes the fundamental best practices for developing and implementing any strategy. Procter & Gamble, for instance, used these best practices to successfully broaden the market for P&G’s Oil of Olay skin crème products.  Best of all, the Playing to Win methodology is applicable to any company, of any size, in any industry, and at any stage of development. The fundamentals of strategy development may always be the same, but they are easily applied to unique circumstances and the particular choices every business leader makes along the way.

When I consider how the Playing to Win methodology applies to the experience of the companies we work with, I immediately zero in on Martin’s assertion that “making a successful strategy combines rigor and creativity.” At first, it seems like a strange combination. Wouldn’t one cancel out the other? Isn’t rigor the enemy of creativity?

Not at all, says Martin. They work hand in hand. “Strategy should be creative and scientific,” he writes in the summary. “Effective strategy development involves generating and testing hypotheses.”  In other words, you’ll need your creative juices flowing to conjure up new ideas and directions for your business, but you’ll need to exercise rigor to assess these potential avenues accurately and execute them effectively.

We see this every day from Tidemark customers. These companies are using our flexible platform to model a wide range of what-if scenarios that might define their future direction. Then they set the parameters, or conditions, that must be met for the strategy to succeed. Using predictive business analytics, they can test those assumptions against real-world data culled from dozens of sources. And then, once they make their strategic choice, they can monitor and measure key indicators of their performance to determine if they’re executing their strategy successfully.

Creativity and rigor. They really do go hand in hand. Want to learn more? View the replay and download the summary, and find out how you can make the strategic choices that will shape the future of your business.