The Navigation of the Three Horizon Framework- An Emerging Guide.

I have planned to explore in three simultaneous blogs, a trilogy of blogs, the three horizon model more extensively. It is a most valuable one to build into your thinking about strategy and innovation.

This is the final blog of the trilogy on the Three Horizon Framework and offers my thinking on an emerging framing to help in navigating through this.

The need is to define your different horizons.

Firstly time is relative; relative to your industry, your situation, your changing circumstances, your customers. They can often compress into one but the likelihood is that you can separate out each horizon for its value and time.

The Value-Time within the Three Horizons

An emerging framework to help navigate across the different horizons.

This is my view of the distinctive aspects of navigation across the three horizon framework and where you shift your emphasis to ‘adjust’ your thinking and mindset to reflect the different horizon and aspects required to ‘see things differently’.

Navigation across the Three Horizons Framework

To summarize the three horizons framework.

The three horizon framework has real value. Not only in scenario building but in gathering often conflicting voices around a framework that asks for different mindsets. Each of the horizons has a characteristic behaviour over time.

Lastly, how you frame innovation, spotting firstly emerging dilemma’s, the tensions that occur between the focus on today’s business and the needs of adapting to tomorrows and finally, the ability to detect those weak signals to explore options, of where the markets will  possibly radically alter in the future, so you are better positioned to seize and shape your place within this changed environment.

A final comment

Gary Hamel remarked “I don’t think you shuffle your way from one S Curve to the other. You have to jump.” The three horizons will help you in your jumping.

Resources & References used across the three blogs on discussing the three horizons

“Seeing the Multiple Horizons” by Andrew Curry and Anthony Hodgson.  Autumn 2008- Journal of Future Studies.

Baghai M, Coley S & White D, “The Alchemy of Growth – kick starting and sustaining growth in your company”, Orion Business, London, 1999.

Various McKinsey documents on this subject.

NB: This is a part of three simultaneous blogs on the three horizon model exploring it more extensively, Part one is here , part two is here and part three here (this post).

14 thoughts on “The Navigation of the Three Horizon Framework- An Emerging Guide.

  1. Paul,

    Simply put: Brilliant.

    On a side note: I was just wondering what will be the consequence on these 3 horizons if we apply the high risk-apetite based entrepreneurship layer on top of it.

    So how do these entrepreneurs look like:
    1. They hate status-quo and only look at creating new market with new technology
    2. Perhaps they directly start with H3 and name a natural progression to H2 and H1
    3. As soon as they reach H1 in this case, they look for new H3’s by leaving the company to managers to continue.

    Again, thanks for the innovative trilogy.

    Regards, Kiran


  2. Appreciate your comment. I think you might be right, start at H3 or at least in H2 as it might be either disruptive to the known (H2) or radical, something completly different (H3), so they are in more of a reverse principal in this framework use. Nice thought


  3. At AMD and the variable-rate mortgages, the transitions from the prior to the new S-curve were smooth and fast, but the jumps happened earlier in the timeline long before the smooth transition. When your core S-curve encounters commoditization, you cannot switch unless you’ve been investing in the research basis of the new S-curve for some time.


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