Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight
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Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight

Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay

Drawing together a collection of 29 original chapters, the Handbook makes an invaluable contribution to theory and practice by stimulating disciplined, rigorous and imaginative enquiry into the relationship between strategy and foresight. Leading scholars in the field of strategic management are brought together to offer innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the past, present and future of strategy formation and foresight. In so doing, they challenge research in four key areas: strategy and foresight processes; strategy innovation for the future; understanding the future; and strategically responding to the future.
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Chapter 18: Visions and Innovation Strategy

Jonathan Sapsed


Jonathan Sapsed Introduction The concept of vision has appeared with increasing frequency in management theory and practice. Vision is regularly referred to in everyday popular usage, by business people, journalists, politicians, as well as scholars. Despite this familiarity it is still not clear what vision is, and how its meaning is different from more established terms such as strategy, forecasting or planning. Moreover, the claims about the function and power of visions are not always substantiated through empirical observation. The visions attributed to organizations are not always clearly linked to competences, or to observed strategic decisions and actions. This chapter attempts to consolidate and clarify the idea of vision as it is presented in the management and innovation literatures. It also shows actual instances of visions in use in a variety of different organizational settings. The chapter tries to show what visions are, what they are not, and how they are used. The chapter is organized as follows: the management literature on visions is reviewed in the second section; it shows how vision is distinguished from terms such as strategy, plan and forecast. The third section reviews the technology and innovation studies literature, which links visions to knowledge bases and strategic actions of organizations. The fourth section describes the method for the case studies. The case studies in sections five to eight illustrate four tactical and strategic uses of vision by firms entering the uncertain area of digital media in the 1990s. The ninth section shows cases where...

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