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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to look at Cubism as a source of insights into creative strategic thinking. Cubism originated in the joint effort by Picasso and Braque. It was a new revolutionary paradigm that overthrew classic principles of representation; dispensing with the idea of a single fixed viewpoint that had dominated art for more than six centuries. The classic idea that there is a single best rational analytical process by which strategy comes to be has been dominating management education and practice for more than six decades.

Design/methodology/approach – We use Picasso’s drawings and paintings as a metaphor for how leaders can look at strategic problems differently, consider more creative choices, and in acting, create more sustainable companies.

Findings – This article argues that problems occur in organisations not because of poor strategic planning and programming but because of a lack of creative strategic thinking.

Implication – Picasso’s art is often multi-layered, offering perspective upon perspective, from slightly different angles. It forces the viewer to stop, think and reconsider alternative perspectives in the search for meaning. Sustainable leaders must do this every day. We call this “strategy as cubism”.

Originality/value – Strategic cubism is about thinking creatively in strategic decision-making through the use of alternative information, which adds value to the overall strategic thinking. Leaders use cubism to shape communication between managers to create options and alternatives, rather than close down creativity, to better facilitate strategic choices that are more sustainable.

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Journal Article

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