Strategy in the News: Ratcheting in the Ukraine; Foxtails and Camels

CRIMEA – News articles relating to Russia’s Crimea takeover have been unrelenting for the last month or more.   As well, there’s been much concern about potential incursions into other parts of the Ukraine, and for that matter, other former Soviet countries. A number of different actions and counter-actions have been reported, and many interpretations of the situation have been put forward.  But what do these moves really signify? Something we can call the Ratchet Strategy. Just a little history To understand how and why this strategy is being employed, we need a bit of context.  Then we can talk … Continue reading

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Bronco Busting; Disruptive Strategy

What’s happening here? There was a great deal of commentary by the sports pundits in the immediate aftermath of Super Bowl XLVIII.  The dust has since settled and we can now think more clearly about how the score of Seattle Seahawks 43, Denver Broncos 8, came to be. How could this have happened?  Going into the game, the Broncos had set a bunch of National Football League offensive records, including a remarkable average of nearly 38 points per game. And meanwhile, the Seahawks established themselves as the clearly dominant defensive-oriented team in the NFL.  So the game was framed by … Continue reading

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Bad Strategy: Unintended Consequences

Green River ON a hike in The Canyon Lands, some of our mountain friends encountered the legendary river runner Moki Mac.  At the time he was managing operations at Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park, and was concerned for the safety of the growing number of recreational boaters running the nearby Green River.  Because of the extreme conditions, to ensure survival in case of a mishap, boaters would have to get out of the canyon within one day.  But there was no known one-day route out of the canyon, so he wanted one found. Sizing up my friends (John, Grant, … Continue reading

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Distributed Strategy; the Personal Dikes of Hamburg

HAMBURG is a special city.   Having recovered from a real pounding during WWII, it’s become the 2nd largest port in Europe.  The prosperity coming with that is everywhere evident, not least along the waterways:  the many canals, and the large Elbe River, itself, with its energetic commerce.  Many of the canals are lined with beautiful homes and trendy old brick warehouse conversions. The Elbe is its own trip.  On the West bank resides the container ship port with all the ship traffic, giant cranes simultaneously unloading and reloading ships, and robotic vehicles transporting the containers to and from awaiting trains and trucks. … Continue reading

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How to Defeat Control Strategies

THERE’S a cannon that’s already lobbed a couple of shells at you, creating geysers more nearby than you’d like. The gunner behind that cannon is your mortal adversary.  He knows that if you can get in close enough, your torpedoes will blow his ship to Kingdom Come – and him with it.  His advantage is long-range cannon power, and the stable platform of a battle cruiser to shoot from.  Yours is that you’re driving the fastest, most maneuverable naval boat afloat. Your engines are red-lining and howling.  You’re racing at his ship in your Patrol Torpedo (PT) Boat at maximum … Continue reading

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Control Strategy

TEA FOR TWO    Two young Chinese ladies, performing for passers-by, hold the handles of their teapots two arm-lengths away from teacups and unerringly fill them without spilling a drop.  The crowd is amazed.  How did they do this?  How could they control the tea so well as it was being poured? Answer:  by using a control strategy that is at the root of controlling nearly all processes. Look at the ladies’ eyes in the photo.  They’re not looking at the spout from which the tea is being poured.  Actually, they’re not even looking at the rim of the cup … Continue reading

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