This week was an interesting week as we tweaked the way we made decisions and the strategy we had chosen. This was due to a number of factors. Firstly, we had gained more experience in operating within worlds and against other teams. Secondly, the sizes of the worlds have increased and we are now competing in a world of six rather than four. Thirdly, we had to think more carefully about our strategy and create more precise and long-term goals because we have nine roll-overs ahead of us. This time, we took a bit more risk with what we chose to do since we now understand the simulation better and what results our decisions will have. The way we approached the amounts we chose to spend, particularly on advertising, PR, and operational systems was particularly important in this first roll-over because we knew there would be six adventure bikes and so we had to make sure we got a decent share of the market in order to be successful. Theory on decision making presented by Buchanan and O'Connell (2006) can be applied to this as we used a combination of gut decisions, economically rational decisions, and analytical abilities. Advancing through the simulation, we could run into problems if we use too much gut instinct and not enough reasoned decisions. To ensure we stay on track, when a team member suggests a figure, I will question why they have chosen that particular one and ask them to explain the logic behind it.
In class on Monday we analysed forms of strategy using arm wrestling as an example. We were told to see who could win the most arm wrestles in 30 seconds. In this case, two approaches were obvious to me: either work together going back and forth so you will get a high number, but your challenger will too, or work against each other where one person will most likely come out on top, but they won't have been nearly as successful in their number as the two individuals who decided to help each other gain. This posed the question of whether it was better to both do equally well and get high numbers, or both get low numbers but one person does better than the other. In the case of MikesBikes, the first strategy seems the smart choice because we are aiming for high capitalisation, and if we all try and run each other out of the game it is unlikely we will manage to do very well ourselves either.
Just as these two main options were immediately presented to me, two main strategies for a single firm in MikesBikes were also highlighted: produce all bikes or decide between producing bikes for certain sectors, either low or high quality. This seems problematic to me and rather limited. Every team is aware of these two strategies and so will most probably be doing similar things within these fields. This makes it hard to stand out from your competitors. Following on from reading Kim and Mauborgne's (2004) piece on blue ocean strategy, alongside their article on strategic planning (Kim and Mauborgne (2002), I began to think about what could be done within the MikesBikes simulation to create a blue ocean within a red ocean, and to create focus in what we were doing. This seemed a big question, and creating bikes outside of the five coloured areas on the perception map was not an option, so at the next team meeting I posed it to my peers. We pondered the issue and decided on a strategy that doesn't limit ourselves to one section, nor does it force us to go into all of them, and is hopefully a move different to what other teams will decide to do. The two ideas for options presented to us in class were just the two most obvious ones, and it is important to think outside of what is presented to you in order to discover something that is (hopefully) successful and great and that will set us apart from our competition.
Buchanan, L. & O'Connell, A. (2006). A brief history of decision making. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 32---41
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2002). Charting your company¿s future. Harvard Business Review, 80(6), 76---83
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategy. Harvard Business Review, 82(10), 75---84