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In a LinkedIn article someone posted a suggested development time line for the Balanced Scorecard approach.  In summary they said (the piece in italics):

  1. Performance measurement tool (1992)
  2. Performance management system (1996)
  3. Strategic management and control system (2000)
  4. Strategy Maps and Office of Strategic Management (2004/5)
  5. The transition from the management accounting school to the strategy management school is confirmed by the focus on two components of the BSC framework that support its strategic role: the Strategy Map and the Office of Strategic Management (Kaplan and Norton, 2004, 2005).
  6. Integration between strategy and operations (2008)   A new phase in the evolution of the Balanced Scorecard concept is the emphasis on its integration role, aligning strategy with operations (Kaplan and Norton, 2008).

Oh Dear.  What utter tosh!  (And I am being polite)

I worked for Norton and Kaplan between 1995 and 2000. We were doing Strategy Maps, integration between Strategy and operations and strategic management back then, when I started in 1995. We were doing alignment back then. We were doing strategic management back then. We never did simplistic operational measurement systems. We only helped organisation capture their strategy. The strap-line for the business was Strategy: rapidly, measurably, knowledgeably.

It was always about how organisations learn and grow and develop their capabilities and drive strategy and value.

What has really happened is this. Much that is being written about now, we were doing in Renaissance worldwide (Norton & Kaplan’s first company before the Collaborative) back in 1996-2000.

The reality is that others read a little from the articles and pretended they would apply the “balanced scorecard” approach by putting measures in perspectives. In other words there were all simplistic derivatives of the real method that was being used for strategy execution and implementation.

Now on the server when I arrived in 1995 I found a few old scorecards that were dated around 1993/4 that were simple sets of measures. Later ones used measures in performance driver models. Later still they developed into strategy maps as described in all five books.  I chaired a Balanced Scorecard conference in 1998 and there were probably 120 different ways people were interpreting the balanced scorecard, even then.

IT WAS NEVER INTENDED AS A PURE MEASUREMENT TOOL. Read the preface to the first book to see this. It is only that many interpreted it as a measurement tool and later declared it to be only to realise later that they had missed the point.

Read page nine of the first book and in the picture you see tables in each perspective. But get to page 30 and it is explaining that there are strategy maps with a cause and effect relationship between the objectives and that the cause and effect relationship describes the organisation’s strategy and how it will change.

Page 11 or 12 describes the strategy execution processes and challenges. It too is a cruciform model.

The sort of time line in this original linkedin article is a fiction.  I am not sure why people write such things, unless it is their personal experience of using the techniques.  If it is, then say that is how they saw it, not claim it as a history.  A simple look through the books (even simply reading the first one) would make it clear that the “Balanced Scorecard Approach” is much richer than mere measurement and was always intended as a tool of strategy and implementation.