StrateTalk No. 2: Amy Quigley, VP Of Marketing, Continuum

StrateTalks (Strategy Talks) are summaries of my in-person exchanges with leaders at service and solution providers.

[05/11/10] After a long, but interesting, briefing with a service provider on its green IT and sustainability consulting services portfolio at our Cambridge, Mass., office, I jumped in a cab to Harvard Square.

I then met with Amy Quigley, VP of marketing at Continuum, an interesting firm. Why? More on that later. Amy has been with the company for about two years now. Prior to Continuum, she was in leading marketing roles at other firms, including Molecular and ATG.

What is Continuum? This was the overarching question I had had in my mind since contacting Amy about having this more philosophical-flavored chat.

Continuum’s Web site notes that it is an innovation and design consultancy. According to Amy, Continuum has three domains of expertise: brand, design, and strategy. I’m primarily interested in Continuum’s strategy approach, which is truly different. The firm leverages primarily design and creativity, rather than analytical, tools to help clients with their strategy. Some call this approach “design thinking”.

However, I do not like this term, and Amy agreed that it does not perfectly capture how Continuum attempts to position itself at executive levels. This is also one of the reasons why her company is currently undertaking a major repositioning effort. Amy shared some of the company’s early slides with me, and I agreed that the company is going in the right direction; for example, the firm is merging its areas of expertise and is creating research communities focused on business opportunities.

Much of our conversation revolved around thinking concepts and developments in this context. I see two sources of competitive advantage evolving in this regard: 1) successive improvements within analytical/model thinking (evolutionary approach) and 2) systemic thinking (revolutionary approach). I’ll be blogging more on the age of systemic thinking and its implications in a separate post.

I am curious about how Continuum’s final strategy and positioning will look like along these lines.