Naturalized Strategy-Making

A small introduction to a large gain

Naturalized strategy-making (a term coined by J.P. Castlin) is an approach to business strategy that emphasizes the role of natural scientific methods and discoveries. It stands in contrast to traditional strategic practice which almost exclusively relies on findings within economics-adjacent fields.

The central argument in NSM is that a wider understanding of the many levels of complex behaviors that determine strategy (e.g., consumer, firm and market) can only truly be achieved by combining scientific findings from multiple fields. While it includes concepts from social sciences such as anthropology, psychology and economics, it also factors in evidence from, in particular, evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience and complexity science.

The approach arose in response to the inefficiencies created by historically dominant strategic planning and management control methods in the modern organizational context. Instead of expecting employees to align to a context-free centralized plan, NSM promotes decentralized but strategically coherent decision-making based on context. Applicable to any strategic endeavor, it has proven to accelerate growth, improve operational effectiveness, heighten resilience, better accountability and greater autonomy.

In comparison

Traditional strategic planning

The world that you desire
Context-free rules
Organizations as machines
Extrapolation of the past
Linear alignment
Binary beliefs
Faith-based universality
Design for robustness
Externally driven revolution
Management of employees

Naturalized strategy-making

The reality that you face
Context-specific constraints
Organizations as ecosystems
Building upon the present
Directional opportunism
Diversity of thought
Evidence-based granularity
Design for resilience
Internally driven evolution
Management of connections between people