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Using Adaptive Strategy Design to Build Your Small Business


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2 min read

adaptive design Are you implementing adaptive strategy design in your business—or should you be? According to the Workshop on Adaptable and Adaptive Software report by Karl Lieberherr, “A program is called adaptive if it changes its behavior automatically according to its context.” Swap out “program” for just about anything else from “business” to “project” and you know exactly what adaptive strategy design is and why it is important.

As a business owner, your company needs to be adaptable and do so automatically depending on the hurdles faced, context or changes in the surrounding landscape.

Take mobile readiness as an example. If you have a website, you need to be able to adapt to the mobile ready world—preferably automatically. This is going to take some work.

This means your website is ready for the mobile world and able to display beautifully and quickly whether a user is on a mobile device, like a smart phone, or a lumbering old desktop. Remember, though, mobile readiness can be a mobile version of a website, an app, or both. When I implemented this on my latest free hosting company Hostt, it helped improve our conversions 60% on mobile phones. This has increased our revenue by almost 12% over the past 4 months.

Here’s why adaptive strategy design matters and how to get it started:

1) About that whole “auto” thing…

Yes, an adaptive strategy ensures automatic adaptation, but that’s not going to happen, well, automatically. It is your job to create a system that’s intuitive, easy to change and upgrade, and designed to automatically respond correctly after upgrades or maintenance. “Auto” is the ultimate goal, but it’ll always take some leg work and elbow grease to get you there.

2) Adaptation is the grease of business savvy

Mobile readiness falls under the umbrella of “responsive design”. The ability to adapt and respond appropriately in any context is crucial. Responsive design is centered on websites. Just because a website looks great on your laptop or tablet doesn’t mean it looks the same on every other browser or platform. What about customers using the latest iPhone 6 or those on a really old device? Responsive design is the ability to “adapt” to every possibility (and it requires constant testing).

3) The customer—and context—is always right

Why do you need to adapt and not your clients or customers? Because they can go many other places, or even just one other place, and get the kind of service they deserve. As a business owner, it’s your job to adapt to the needs of those you serve. If you don’t, you’re going to be seen as outdated, unprofessional, and uncaring about your users. Ideally, you’re also adapting to the needs of your employees and giving them the tools they need to do their best work.

4) Adaptation in your strategy plan

Adaptation should be an integral part of any marketing campaign or business plan. Change is inevitable, and some industries evolve at lightning speed. To stay competitive and offer the best solutions, your business needs to do what it takes to stay on the cutting edge. Consider each of your projects and your business as a fluid, ever-changing being. That will get you on the right track.

The era of “tried and tested” is behind us. Rolling with the punches, and expecting them, is paramount. Figure out where you’re stalling in business and look for ways adaptive strategies can help you grow. 

Have you transformed your business’ website to be adaptive across multiple devices? What have you found works, or doesn’t work, when making the switch to adaptive design?

Originally published Dec 08, 2014, updated Aug 12, 2020

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