The Hybrid Strategy framework

WeBuildEurope.eu applies the Hybrid Strategy framework in its search for creative solutions. The Hybrid Strategy concept was first developped by Ingo Mayr-Knoch and Jean Christophe Mittelstaedt and published in Revue de Défense Nationale (“Plaidoyer pour une stratégie hybride de l’Union européenne“, March 2016, N˚ 788) and IRSEM Paris Papers (forthcoming).

In order to spur the discovery of creative new influence instruments and strategies for the EU we use a definition of strategy that is holistic and not restricted by any categories. We encourage the use of a broad interdisciplinary perspective on strategy utilising and integrating research from different academic fields.

Hybrid Strategy is defined as the integrated use of all available instruments that influence the actions of other actors to reach goals.

Hybrid Strategy reduces strategy to its essence: influence, whereby “influence” means to “have an effect” on an actor. The Hybrid Strategy framework is not normative and includes all possible instruments of influence. Instruments can be welcomed by the target (cooperative), unwanted by the target (conflictive) or remain undetected. An actor can be a single person or a system like a state or any of its sub-systems (such as bureaucracies) or a non-state actor (e.g. a company, voters, or social classes). This deconstruction of concepts leads to an all-encompassing view on strategy and the instruments of influence that can be feasibly deployed. The focus on a single question, namely on how to influence an actor allows to broaden the perspective and break down all boundaries: cultural, institutional, and social and to find new creative instruments of influence. Every interaction between systems also influences the actions of both systems and therefore becomes an instrument of influence. Culture, information, scientific theories and concepts, energy, finance, the economic, and forceful (military) instruments all influence the decision making process of an actor and subsequently his actions.

The main challenge of Hybrid Strategy is not to find new creative instruments of influence, but to find ways to actively utilise existing instruments of influence that are currently not consciously used as such. For instance, universities devise scientific theories that influence the behavior of many actors, but they are not primarily established for that purpose. Implementation of a Hybrid Strategy in itself is therefore a process of influence with the goal to get other actors to cooperate in the implementation of the strategy.