Do you need a second brain for business strategy? is the perfect second brain for business strategy development and execution

Picture of a brainStrategy can be complex. It relies on vast amounts of information about markets, competitors, stakeholders, operating models and operational performance, goals, targets, initiatives, action plans, status updates and approval processes. And it relies on understanding the relationships between all of this information.

In a small organisation, a skilled strategist might keep all of this in his or her head.

In most other situations, this is not possible.

If you try, things will quickly fall between the cracks. Strategies will become corrupted and inconsistent. Confusion and chaos will lead to underperformance.

That's why we write down our strategies and the information, analysis and logic they're based on.

Tiago Forte popularised the idea of a second brain as a way of "ensuring that the ludicrous amount of information we have to deal with day-to-day stops bouncing around our heads and is recorded somewhere where we can make sense of it in the long term”. A second brain frees your first brain to focus on the higher-order problem-solving and decision-making required in business strategy without losing the benefits of evidence and analysis. (You can find out more at

A second brain is "a way of ensuring that the ludicrous amount of information we have to deal with day-to-day stops bouncing around our heads and is recorded somewhere where we can make sense of it in the long term".

The second brain concept even appears in Harry Potter! Dumbledore explains how the Pensieve works: "One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form." is your second brain for business strategy development and execution.

Tiago Forte says that a second brain needs to be:

  • Capable of storing all the information you need. Our rich text editors allow you to include free format text including graphics, tables, lists, hyperlinks and highlighting. Our file vault allows you to link to external documents. And our web clipper allows you to easily clip and reference content you find on the web.
  • Scalable, so you can capture and preserve a virtually unlimited amount of information. Our cloud-based SaaS solution grows with your needs without you needing to buy more servers.
  • Capable of storing and organizing data in various formats, from images to videos to chunks of code.
  • Portable, to permit quick capture and editing of information.
  • Searchable, so you can easily pull up the knowledge you need when you need it. meets all of those criteria.

I would add that a second brain for business strategy should also be:

  • shareable: with other people.
  • contextual: the GTD system highlights the important of context, so the information attaches to the places where you need it.
  • active: actively remind you when information needs attention

Again, meets those criteria.

Strategy requires more than storing and retrieving data. It requires us to tease out the patterns and relationships - especially hypotheses of cause and effect from the data. It is that which we need a second brain to help us store and recall rather than the underlying data itself. (Is this 'progressive summarisation'?)

Our brains are amazing at absorbing information and drawing conclusions. These come out in the form of 'intuition'. But intuition is fallible and prone to cognitive biases. We need to distil and externalise the implicit reasoning behind our intuition in order to be able to test, validate, share and improve it.  A second brain needs to assist us in that process.

So, the question is, are you still using word processing or presentation software like Microsoft's Word and Powerpoint for your business strategy, or have you moved on?

Let be your second brand for business strategy development and execution.

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Updated: 2023-11-06