The exploration-exploitation dilemma

The exploration-exploitation dilemma

Great innovators are known for risk-taking and experimentation. But optimising needs a different skill-set that relies on refinement and efficiency. It is then rare to find people that can innovate and optimise.

A typical story is that a founder launches a startup, successfully grows it through the initial stages, then gets replaced by a more experienced CEO. However, the best results are produced when exploration and exploitation coincide.

82 STASHED

2 LIKES

The ambidextrous mindset: how to balance exploration and exploitation

nesslabs.com

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • Exploration: The focus is on experimentation, risk-taking, discovery, and innovation. People who thrive here are more flexible and comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Exploitation: The focus is on execution, refinement, and efficiency. Successful people are good at weighting options and making optimal choices.

Startups are in the exploration phase and change to the exploitation phase when they become mature businesses. It can be a costly mistake when they are unwilling to switch back when needed.

78 STASHED

3 LIKES

Many organisations focus on the exploitation of their historically successful business activities while failing to explore new territory to improve their long-term success.
Famous examples:

  • Polaroid didn't respond to the transition to digital photography. Another company that fell into this trap is Kodak.
  • Blockbuster was a home-movie and video-game rental service provider that did not respond to the rise of mail-order and video-on-demand services.

70 STASHED

1 LIKE

The key to success is to balance exploration and exploitation.

  • Conduct an ambidexterity audit. Consider how much time, energy, and money you are dedicating to exploration relative to exploitation. Ensure that you are not dedicating100% to one or the other.
  • How easy would it be to switch from exploitation to exploration? Rigid processes and legacy policies can interfere with switching.
  • You can also add more flexibility to your processes at an individual level based on your current goals.

75 STASHED

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

GET THE APP:

RELATED IDEAS

Exploration and exploitation

Similar to the way you need both exploration and exploitation in order to foster innovation, you need both open loops and closed loops to produce great work.

  • In the exploration phase, you may wander through many creative paths. 
  • In the exploitation phase, you will choose a few select ones of these paths to execute. 

First, you create open loops to cultivate your creativity; then, you close those loops to increase your productivity.

937 STASHED

53 LIKES

Should we really focus on one thing at a time?

nesslabs.com

Talent Spotting

Digital leaders don’t have to do everything themselves, but they must be able to spot the areas of their organization that need improving. Moreover, they need to be able to hire and develop the best talent to not only fill roles but also drive the business forward to greater success.

147 STASHED

2 LIKES

The Most In-Demand Skills in Digital Leadership

digitalmarketinginstitute.com

Hot Streaks

Hot streaks are also known as 'career-defining periods of unusual success' and this has been observed in almost every domain such as Einstein's "Miracle Year" of groundbreaking discoveries to director Peter Jackson's box-office-smash Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

6 STASHED

1 LIKE

What Triggers a Career Hot Streak?

insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu