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STRAD is a revolutionary yet easy-to-use software package for managers and small planning groups. STRAD offers you fast, flexible support whenever you must chart a way through a tangle of tough decisions, while contending with daunting uncertainties and fast-moving events.

Developed in Britain, STRAD now has users in over 35 countries. These include managers in business and the public sector; planners and co-ordinators; consultants and policy support staff; and teachers and students in schools of management, planning and public policy.

Based on the principles of the Strategic Choice Approach, STRAD is a tool for helping people who are involved in processes of developmental decision making - processes in which every decision taken can be expected to influence the shape of the future choices to be made.

In such a process, your choice of strategy for managing uncertainty can be all-important. As research on group decision-making has demonstrated, your response to uncertainties about guiding values, and about the actions of other parties, can be just as crucial as your response to uncertainties about circumstances and trends.

What is unique about STRAD is that it enables you to respond to all these kinds of uncertainty in a dynamic and resource-effective way, building a firmer basis for future decisions while simultaneously agreeing how to act in important areas of choice that cannot wait.

Such features distinguish STRAD from those more familiar types of planning tool that are primarily concerned with the control or scheduling of ongoing operations, as well as from those that look primarily to the longer term.

The latest release, STRAD 2.3, runs under Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, XP and Vista. It is presented on compact disk, with a comprehensive user manual in colour on downloadable .pdf file, and supplementary demonstration and tutorial files.

The range of applications
STRAD invites you to express the issues you face in terms of three basic types of element - decision areas, uncertainty areas and comparison areas (or criteria). So it is extremely diverse in its range of applications, extending from the level of personal career strategy to that of national policy planning.
Some areas of application include:
  • organizational change;
  • urban regeneration;
  • small business strategy;
  • planning community services;
  • new product marketing;
  • educational management;
  • relocation decisions;
  • design of new projects;
  • information systems strategy;
  • regional development;
  • environmental policy;
  • inter-agency collaboration;
  • transportation plans;
  • production systems redesign;

To download a demo version of the program, select DOWNLOAD DEMO from the software menu.

For more information, see STRAD: Answers to questions and program design


The principal published source on the strategic choice approach is the book Planning under Pressure: the Strategic Choice Approach by John Friend and Allen Hickling. This was first published in 1987 by Pergamon Press of Oxford; an expanded second edition was published in September 1997 by Butterworth-Heinemann of Oxford. A third edition, published in November 2004, includes a substantial new chapter in which 21 invited users from seven countries present the lessons they have learnt from their experiences. The price of this third edition (ISBN 0 7506 63731) in the UK is 33.99 GB pounds.

The third edition covers the fundamentals of the approach; the various analytical methods used; the skills involved in applying them in practice; the practicalities of organizing and managing interactive strategic choice workshops; the role of software; the management of extensive participatory projects; invention, transformation and interpretation; and the wider developmental challenge.

The approach is also presented as one of six interactive approaches to the structuring of strategic problems in the book Rational Analysis for a Problematic World Revisited (editors J. Rosenhead and J. Mingers), published in 2001 by John Wiley (New York/Chichester, ISBN 0 471 49523-9). Chapter 6 by John Friend summarises the principal methods of the Strategic Choice Approach, while Chapter 7 by Allen Hickling tells the story of a major application to governmental policy-making in the Netherlands.

Two earlier books relating to the development of the strategic choice approach are Local Government and Strategic Choice by John Friend and Neil Jessop (London: Tavistock Publications, 1969, SBN422 73050 5; second edition Oxford: Pergamon, 1977, ISBN 0 08 021451 7) and Public Planning: the Inter-Corporate Dimension by John Friend, John Power and Christopher Yewlett (London: Tavistock Publications, 1974, ISBN 0422 74450 6). The first book is now out of print but can be accessed through libraries. The Friend, Power and Yewlett book was reprinted in 2001 by Routledge in the International Behavioural and Social Science Library, ISBN 0-415-26499-5.

In addition to the books on the strategic choice approach listed above, the following accounts of the approach have been published in languages other than English:

Apart from the Japanese and Spanish translations of Planning under Pressure, all the above are short introductory booklets; most of them are illustrated by examples set in that national context.

The following published articles and contributions to edited volumes report on applications of the strategic choice approach published since the first appearance of Planning under Pressure in 1987:

NOTE: For publications of the Operational Research Society, please refer to the Society's offices at Seymour House, 12 Edward Street, BIRMINGHAM, B1 2RX, UK. Telephone +44(0) 121-233-9300, fax +44(0) 121-233-0321, e-mail email@orsoc.org.uk.