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Creating strategy is an inherently creative process. Because of the multitude of factors involved, including the thoughts and beliefs of the strategists themselves, the formation of strategy is unique. However, the overwhelming belief in almost all strategy is concerned with beating the competition, something that Kim and Mauborgne (2004) point out. Strategy is not about beating the competion - it's about figuring out the best way to obtain your objectives given your current resources. Blue ocean strategy makes that clear: instead of focusing on competition, it focuses on creating value. Rather than trying to match what other firms are doing, Kim & Mauborgne suggest that it is better to redefine what competition means. By doing this you create an unparalleled advantage: you seize the initiative. In this history of strategic thought, from military strategy to chess, every strategist has realized the importance of initiative. It forces your competition to react to you rather than be able to execute their own strategies. In my Mikes Bikes team I am the Director of R&D. What this essentially means is that I am responsible for my teams long-term strategy: my recommendations shape the strategic direction of the entire firm. To me, this is the most important aspect of Mikes Bikes, and why I decided to make R&D Director my first choice for the team role.

Thus, this weeks readings are especially relevant to me. How do I create blue ocean for my firm? The concept of strategic canvases, I believe, are important in this regard: it clarifies exactly what the firm should be doing in order to maximise the value it creates for its customers. Of course there are no real customers in Mikes BIkes. But by analysing the reports within the game itself, a picture of sound strategy does emerge. This means that I have to not only understand my own area of product development, but also have an excellent understanding of every other department in Mikes Bikes and how they inter-relate to one another. For example, this week our team were discussing preliminary strategy and the various members of my group had their own ideas (I won't go into exactly what they were, I still want to win) as to what we should be doing. What I want to do now is to seize the initiative. I want the other firms to react to my decisions and forget their own strategy. There is a simple way to do this: 1, have the highest SHV in the first rollover, or the second highest, doesnt matter; 2, this will force the less competitive firms to re-evaluate their own strategy and maybe even derail a few firms due to infighting (there are 6 firms in each world so the chances are atleast one firm isnt going to work well); 3. These less competitive firms will from then on be reacting to the top firms in the world and more than likely forget about what they need to do in order to seize the initiative, they will be too busy playing catch up. This leaves in reality only one firm as actual competition, and depending on what their business strategy is, they can be easy pickings or roughly even going forward.

Of course, if you do not clinch the top 2 placings in your world, that doesn't mean you cannot come back. The key will be realizing exactly what blue ocean strategy means to your particular firm, and each firm's blue ocean strategy will be different based on the environmental context.

References

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

2 Comments

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your journal. Thank you for sharing it with us. In some sense, it felt like a really good, concise version of the long articles we had to read. In particular, I agree with you about this: Strategy is not about beating the competition - it's about figuring out the best way to obtain your objectives given your current resources. And we certainly have v. limited resources to start off with. Some people are quite short-sighted and have the objective of wining through beating their competitors. I¿d imagine, some teams then will exhaust their resources a bit too early in the game. Haha it will be interesting to observe. For sure!

    As to share something, I think the real issue with these group simulations is that we are all given similar reading resources so there may be a mentality of sheep thought. In this sense, it is really hard to strategise. When I first read about the Blue Ocean concept, I thought immediately how perfect this strategy would be but then I thought about how everyone else might be doing the same. Then it just got a bit confusing. I think no matter how much planning is made for this simulation, a bit of luck certainly will help. To add, a broad understanding of the whole game is pretty crucial. It certainly does save time in the long run, Instead of trying to negotiate within the team.

    You have a true talent to surmise heavy contextual articles, and picking out main point relevant in a simple format that it does not get lost in the expression of thought. I think your team is quite lucky to have you. I¿d imagine.  It certainly sounds like you have a sound plan- can I assume this to come from experience. I personally enjoyed reading the Blue ocean readings, and I hope the insights gained from there will come to use. I do agree however, each role has certain appeals, and there are some roles where one gets to learn more than others.
    I also agree, it is hard to write freely especially when the stakeholders are the rest of the class, your team members, and the lecturer. A friend joked that he¿s just going to stick to talking about the readings and not relate to the actual simulation itself but then, they do miss out on helpful feedbacks from the peers in this class.
    In terms of constructive feedback, I advise to perhaps critique the ideas being shown in the articles. It¿s alright to disagree and then discussing about that. However, certainly to keep it up with how you are writing and being selective in what you write from the readings.

  2. Continue cherry picking the readings for focused discussions on topical concepts. This results in a concise discussion on the most salient ideas in the weeks readings. Following a theoretical discussion with how it applies in my own experience serves to reinforce and convey my point. Maybe think about reducing the number of words for easier flow.