Prospector Strategy

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The Prospector Strategy is a term from the Strategic Management field coined by Miles and Snow in their strategic business unit strategies typology. Companies that adopt a prospector strategy are always looking for new markets and opportunities and are willing to potentially take risks to gain significant rewards. [1]

Purpose and Role

A prospector strategy aims to foster innovation, identify and exploit new product-market opportunities, and shape the organization's environment. These organizations are known for pioneering and creating change in their industry, and they prioritize flexibility and agility in their operations.

Components of a Prospector Strategy

  1. Innovation: Organizations with a prospector strategy invest significantly in creating new products or services and are often seen as industry leaders.
  2. Market Research: They spend considerable resources studying the market to identify new opportunities.
  3. Risk-taking: They are willing to take risks to develop and test new products or services.
  4. Agility: They have a flexible structure and can quickly adapt to changes in the market or industry.

Importance of a Prospector Strategy

A prospector strategy can help organizations gain a competitive advantage by being the first to exploit new opportunities. It can lead to substantial growth and high profits, especially if the new product or service is well received. This strategy also promotes a culture of innovation and continuous learning, which can be valuable in fast-changing industries.

Pros and Cons

The pros of a prospector strategy include potential market dominance through innovation, flexibility, and the possibility of high rewards. This strategy can be particularly effective in industries characterized by rapid change and high uncertainty.

However, the prospector strategy also has its cons. Constantly pursuing new opportunities can lead to a lack of focus and may strain resources. There's also the risk associated with innovation and entering new markets - the new product or service might not be successful, leading to financial losses. Moreover, while prospectors often create market changes, they can struggle to maintain their lead as competitors imitate their innovations.


Apple Inc. is a prime example of a company that employs a prospector strategy. They continuously innovate and create new products, often defining new market segments. They were not the first to create a digital music player, smartphone, or tablet. Still, their iPod, iPhone, and iPad respectively revolutionized these product categories and established Apple as a leader in these markets. However, they also continually need to innovate to maintain their market position and margins in the face of fierce competition and imitation.

See Also

  1. Definition - What Does Prospector Strategy Mean? Oxford Reference