Coming back from the break, this has been an interesting week for our group as a lot of evaluation and re-evaluation of our overall strategy has had to occur. Admittedly, the Mikes Bikes simulation was nowhere near the forefront of my mind over the break (nor do I think it was for many others) and it did take me a bit of time to readjust into the mind-set of operating decisions within the team. The first two days were a bit slow, but by Thursday I feel as if we were back to where we were and able to efficiently and effectively rollover for the week. For me, adjusting back into the mind-set for the simulation required reflection upon what I had learnt in the first part of the semester. As a team, once we were able to discuss how the previous rollover had gone, and reflect how our decisions should be made in response to this, the ball really got rolling and the week got on track.
Argyris (1991) would suggest that professionals tend to be somewhat stuck in their ways and do not seem to learn and reflect in their jobs as much as they perhaps should. This could be interpreted as very bureaucratic thinking, where decisions are made within a known set of parameters, instead of thinking too far outside of the box. Throughout this reading, I found myself considering as to how this theory applies to the Mikes Bikes simulation, and particularly my experiences within it. For our group, we make the majority of our decisions together, but over the weeks there has been growing specialisation in each of our respective roles, as we learn how each component functions more and more. This would show that we are continually learning, as there is seemingly always more to learn in the simulation. However, one of the issues that this reading had me particularly considering, was whether or not we are now simply going ‘through the motions’ of our roles, much like the professionals do in the Argyris experiment (1991). Does increased specialisation in the roles lead to the ‘doom loop’ discussed in the reading, whereby when a professional has learnt so much they will stop to think as critically as they can, and make decisions based on what they know. I certainly feel as if there is still a great deal to learn and that most of the simulation is needed to be responsive to the operations of other teams, and does require for a great deal off analysis and reflection. However, I am starting to feel as if my role as R&D director may not allow for as much learning as some other roles. I know up until this point I have learnt a lot in my role, and that I am still learning many of the points to it, but I think there clearly could be a point where the amount to learn plateaus. Whereas I do need to know how the market is playing out and make design decisions in response to this, many of the more tangible decisions which I make do have strict confines; how much tech/ design can go into each project. This could relate to the blue ocean, red ocean strategies mentioned by Kim & Mauborgne (2004), Where the Red ocean is the market which is occupied by other businesses and highly competitive, and the Red Ocean is the untapped, make or break, market. I am unsure whether there could truly be a Blue ocean in this case, because of the confines of each designated Bike market, and the fact that in our world they are all, already highly competitive. How so would I break out of the doom loop and learn something new to apply to the simulation when the amount of learning from my role seems to have somewhat of a cap to it. The only way I can think to do this would be to always stretch the imagination when suggesting new projects that our group could introduce to gain market share in our world and hope that I am not just being overly critical of my role.
Despite this I do feel as if reflection is an overwhelmingly important factor for this course overall, in both the simulation and also for the learning journals. As the semester has progressed, I feel as if several of the theories raised in this course, such as Daudelin and Kolb, have influenced my learning in other factors of university and have really had me question whether I am learning to the best that I can. I would definitely say that so far I have become more critical and reflective, and only hope that I do not fall into the doom loop. I think that reflection is important to learning, and I believe that is one of the reasons why I found Argryis (1991) such an interesting journal to read.
Argyris, C. (1991). Teaching smart people how to learn. Reflections, 4(2), 4—15.
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82(10), 75--84