This exercise can be found on page 11 in “Toolbox 2.0 for Strategic Leadership of Innovative Networks”. You can download a PDF version of the toolbox here.

In the “Cases” dropdown (previous page) there is an example of how the hedgehog model was used to analyse the tourism industry in Jostedalen.


Exercise 1: Create one or more groups who work on the questions in table 1

Table 1. The hedgehog principle: Main questions and secondary questions.

This table is editable, but you can not save. Consider printing out this page if you choose to fill it out.
Tourism Network “Fjordane”
Main Question Secondary question
What can we do? What are our core skills/competencies? What can we be best in the world at? If we lack some competency, will we be able to acquire this? How?
What do we want to do? What do we want to do? What are we passionate about? What is our first choice, if we have the opportunity to choose? Can we discuss this in the light of the replies to the other two questions?
What should we do? What is our market? What does this market have a demand for? What can we make money on? What can’t we make money on? Are we aiming at specific niches?

Exercise 2: What are the consequences of what was agreed on in exercise 1?

• Overlap between all three: Natural areas to invest in/pursue
• Overlap between can and should: Consider changing priorities
• Overlap between want to and should: Try to mobilize supplementary resources or recruit competencies that are lacking.

It may be beneficial to use the hedgehog concept tool to assess the different phases of development in the network. In the introductory phase, such analysis may be necessary, but the sameis true aboutcritical phases where crucial strategic choices are made. Networks that have just been created are in a “formative phase”, which means they need to find their “form”through a learning process. They may considerand copy parts of what others do, but thereis likely little to be gained by just copying. Innovative networks are all unique;they all have to absorb characteristics from their own situation and their own members. Well established networks, whichhave been through this learning process,may have transitioned to a growth or maturation phase. There is no promise that networks live forever, so in some cases terminatingthe network is the right thing to do.

The hedgehog principle may be a device for figuringout if the network is still viable. If there is no desire to terminatethe network, the leaders and participants, especially in mature networks, have to think the situation through: Will restructuring be necessary? Are changes required to achieve new growth? The formative phase and the transition phase are both critical phases, and the public sector has totake on an active role if the hedgehog principle indicates that the network assessed is important for this region. In the growth and maturation phases, the public sector may take on a less prominent role, and to a greater extent leave the field to the businesses in collaboration with R&D. But even then the public sector needs to stay vigilant and ready to respond as necessary.

The hedgehog principle, as an overarching strategic tool, needs to be seen in the context of other tools that are presented here.

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