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The Timeless Strategic Value of Unrealistic Goals

Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad's 1989 HBR article "Strategic Intent" brought about a discontinuous shift in my career — from a professor of accounting to a researcher on strategy and innovation. As an idea, strategic intent is about setting a bold and ambitious goal, out of all proportion to a firm's current resources and capabilities. Strategic intent takes the long view: the act of such intent is to operate from the future backward, disregarding the resource scarcity of the present.

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