Hedgehog Concept

What is it?

This is Jim Collin’s strategy framework introduced in his book “Good-to-Great”. It lays out three separate questions for an organisation to ask itself. The company finds its successful strategy, called its “Hedgehog Concept”, at the intersection where all three of these questions are satisfied. The company can then focus obsessively on this Hedgehog concept – like a hedgehog that only knows one thing (how to roll up into a ball) and executes it superbly again and again, rather than a fox that tries lots of tricks and traps, but fails to defeat the hedgehog.

When is it useful?

Use these questions when crafting your strategy. They can be used both as an exploration, to understand what drives your business; and also as a cross-check when you have chosen a strategy to ensure they have been met.

An Example?

How do you do the analysis?

Limitations – what to watch out for:
Jim Collins notes that finding a company’s Hedgehog Concept takes many years of thought, action and evaluation. They are useful questions for crafting strategy, but not a “formula” or “programme”.

I want to know more

Underlying assumptions of this framework:

  • If the people in the organisation are not passionate about the strategy, they will not execute it and/or will not sustain it
  • If the organisation is not the best in the world at something, competitors will eventually overtake them
  • If there is no economic engine, the company cannot satisfy its customers and shareholders
Read Good to Great or visit www.jimcollins.com

How can you adapt this concept?