Smart strategy: intelligence, gaming and agility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Generals, entrepreneurs and planners aim to dislocate enemies, outsmart competitors or build iconic cities. All advocate ‘smart strategy’ but what are its constituents? I seek some cross-disciplinary clarification. A selection of military, business and planning literature is investigated, looking for common themes and a smart strategy framework. Strategic complexity and the limits to generalisation in turbulent times are noted. In the military, overwhelming force confronts asymmetric warfare with deception and carefully-calibrated power projections, conducted at tempo, to confuse and overwhelm the enemy. In business, making money is necessary but insufficient for a smart strategy. Other ‘smart’ criteria are ethics, delegation, talented people and continuous systems innovation. In urban planning, centralist or dispersed intervention strategies jostle with evolutionary ones but without a final resolution in complex, idiosyncratic cities with adjustment lags and spatial irresolution. Despite context dependency, our multi-disciplinary overview generates some practical business advice. A smart strategy recoils from top-down, techno-centric or managerialist litanies. Clarity of purpose, sound intelligence and judgment orientate the entity and harmonize its activities around key products/markets. Deception confuses and disorientates competitors but needs product support. Flexibility/adaptability balances informed leadership with devolved innovation, underpinned by systems upgrades and talent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Economics and Business Administration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2012 Simon Huston. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • Strategic Agility
  • Strategy
  • Military
  • Business
  • Urban Planning
  • Intelligence
  • Foresight
  • Gaming
  • Agility


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