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3 Elements of a Strategic Learning Cycle-Part 1

strategic marketing

 by Kenneth Rudich

It’s difficult to imagine an enterprise could ever find itself in a state of utter perfection.  The reality of the real-world environment, with all its moving parts, simply won’t allow it.  It never has and likely never will, no matter how badly one may prefer to believe otherwise.  As Eric Jackson, Founder and Managing Member of Ironfire Capital LLC., recently pointed out in a blog post titled, “The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives” for, it’s dangerous to stubbornly rely on what worked in the past (Habit #7).

There are numerous good reasons for routinely vetting a value proposition and brand experience, and for using the results to determine if or how the value chain strategy should evolve.  Valter Lazzari, a Professor of Banking and Finance, describes this form of strategy development as emergent and adaptive, not static.  With that in mind, there’s one last piece of advice to extend for properly vetting a consumer value proposition, and it is this: never stop doing it.

When attempting to instill this mindset within the culture of an enterprise, there are three design elements to consider.  They are time, a disciplined learning cycle and enterprise-wide involvement.

The Element of Time

Though this element may at first blush seem so heavily based in common sense as to be only faintly informative, it would be negligent to not bring it up.  After all, while almost everything happens in the context of time, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the context itself will always be the same one.

In fact, the element of time has many different faces.  You can have time intervals, timing and elapsed time.  There’s too soon, too late, on time, just in time and timeless.  Some events are timely while others can be untimely.  And, of course, there’s unproductive time versus productive time.  An appreciation for the nuances of time and the role that they play can be vitally important.

For example, this was apparent in our earlier discussion concerning the three forms of consumer demand – salient, incipient and latent demand.  Incipient demand often is about being first or not lagging too far behind on the innovation curve; it’s a timing issue. Latent demand, meanwhile, frequently entails the need for a longer gestation period than the other two forms of demand; it’s about managing the circumstance of a larger time interval in the development stage.

Perhaps the single most commonly observed facet of time involves the linear progression of it:

  • The Past – where you’ve been
  • The Present – where you are
  • The Future – where you should be going and how to get there

This linear progression provides a means for benchmarking and monitoring the trajectory of an enterprise, for isolating key patterns and trends, for determining what’s working, what’s not working and so forth, across time.

All in all, it should be easy to see why time is an important element in the vetting process.

See Part 2.  It covers the remaining elements of a disciplined learning cycle and enterprise-wide involvement.

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