A strategy is not a goal like maximizing shareholder value or keeping America safe from terrorism. It’s not even a plan. It is a design — a coherent approach to defining and solving a particular problem, in which the different elements have to work together.
In a previous article, “Twenty Hubs and No HQ” (s b, Spring 2008), we proposed an essential part of this business model: a global corporate structure with no headquarters. Instead of a single center, companies would establish core office “hubs” in many or most of the 20 gateway countries in the world that house 70 percent of the world’s population and account for 80 percent of its income. These 20 countries include 10 from the industrialized world: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The other 10 are emerging markets: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey. A hub strategy enables a company to provide products and services everywhere. But it will not in itself resolve the trade-offs of globalization. Companies can accomplish this only with a more comprehensive business model that (1) customizes their products and services in hubs around the world, (2) unites business units around a platform of proprietary knowledge and the building of competencies, and (3) arbitrages their operating models to gain cost-effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency.