Always Following the Latest Lead

Forgetful Wanderer

Scroll to Explore

Historical Case

Francisco Vázquez de Coronado

Where to Look for the Seven Cities of Gold?

Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado set out to find the legendary Seven Cities of Gold in 1540.
He learned about a variety of leads and rumors from an assortment of guides and advisors. These diverse clues caused him to cover much ground in the present-day southwestern U.S. and finally took him to Kansas, but he found neither gold nor the fabled cities. Upon his return, the failed expedition forced him into bankruptcy.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

— Albert Einstein

Business Case

Right on the Trend Line: The Dot-Com Bubble of the Late 1990s

The 1990s saw the rise of e-commerce as embodied by companies such as Boo.com, theGlobe.com, and FreeInternet.com. Given the low interest rates at the end of the 1990s and the initially stellar performance of these dot-coms on the stock market, it was hard not to invest. But by 2002, $5 trillion had been lost in the market crash and 52 percent of the dot-coms had ceased trading, never having made a profit. Investors had been quick to follow a trend but had forgotten basic wisdom about investment bubbles, learned from prior experience, including the Dutch tulip mania of 1637, when four oxen were exchanged for a tulip bulb.

Options Must Be Weighed Based on Past Learning

Sirens

Warning Signs to Heed

  • Exploration activities driven mainly by industry sentiment or competitive imitation, without more-fundamental justification
  • Missing or incomplete capture of key lessons and results from past exploration
  • Selection of similar strategic options multiple times without generating new lessons

Lighthouses

Beacons to Navigate By

  • Regular tracking and evaluation of the lessons and financial outcomes of exploration efforts in order to refine and retune priorities
  • Application of a stage gate mechanism to filter out unproductive exploration efforts