Towards a theory of conceptual trilateration: Understanding strategy’s centre of gravity

When:10 Jul 2019, 4pm - 5:30pm
Venue:Room 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Dr. Paul Ryder (UNSW)

Paul Ryder Event

Towards a theory of conceptual trilateration: Understanding strategy’s centre of gravity

Germane to any field in which strategy is scoped, architected, mobilised or reflected upon, I offer a model manifesting the insights of Napoleon Bonaparte, Lawrence Freedman, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Richard Rumelt, and Harry Yarger—all of whom, in one way or another, observe that good strategy demands a synergy and symmetry of objectives, concepts, and resources. While to be ultimately positioned in the context of a broader grammar of strategy (a hermeneutic grid under development), the model focusses on the internal dynamics of strategy: its conceptual core; its centre of gravity. Through a visual metaphor—the conceptual heart of strategy conceived of and modelled as a set of intersecting spheres—this presentation brings to attention strategy’s internal relationships and dynamic motilities. Accordingly, via several case studies, I interrogate the intersectional dynamics of strategy’s essence, observing that the heart of strategy is hidden, abstract, and—at its most formidable—a synchronised and synchronising force through which tactics might be projected with uncommon accuracy and authority. This suggests that conceptual triangulation (I introduce its three-dimensional equivalent; trilateration) is fundamental to any strategy that achieves both reach over a problematic, and prime focus upon it.

Paul Ryder teaches communication theory and practice at the University of New South Wales. He is particularity interested in the history of breakthrough strategy and, through an extensive study of the subject in military, political, and commercial contexts, discerns a set of principles that apply to strategy at its most penetrating. While particularly relevant to the field of communication studies and sub-disciplinary areas including public relations, advertising, crisis management, and organisational communication, Paul’s research also has implications for business studies, political science, and strategic studies. Apropos, the theory—and the model—had their genesis in Paul’s former life as a communication and business management consultant.

SAM Seminar Series

This series provides a showcase and forum for local as well as international scholars, researchers, industry practitioners and creative artists – ranging from early-career to well-established – to present on their work. No need to book, all welcome!

Note: New dates in Term 2 - SAM Seminars will be held on Wednesdays at 4pm.

Coming next:
Week 8, Term 2 - Wednesday 24 July
Writers on the Craft of Writing
Stephanie Bishop and Michelle de Kretser in conversation
More info coming soon. 

Find out more and see the full program.
Enquiries contact: SAM Seminar Convenor, John Attridge –

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Room 327 is located on the third floor. Please note the main entrance off the central walkway is on Level 1.

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