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After much practice and anticipation, the competition for MikesBikes has finally started. I was a good feeling making our decisions for this first rollover as opposed to the first practice rollover which was more nerve-wracking because our whole team was more confident this time round. We also learnt from some of our mistakes during the practice rollover and fixed these mistakes which resulted in our teaming coming first in our world for the first rollover. Here's hoping that our strategy is unique enough to see us through to the end of MikesBikes somewhere at the top of the table, if not, first.  

With regards to the readings, I found the whole idea of a "strategy canvas" (Kim and Mauborgne, 2002) really interesting because having done a Strategic Marketing paper where we had a group assignment that involved coming up with a written strategic plan, I fully understand why it is perceived as 'muddle' by executives. It involves a lot of research and once complete, it is just pages and pages of reading of complex terms, graphs and diagrams that are slightly overwhelming. Something that is easier to read and understand would work to the advantage of many companies trying to come up with strategies that have a different focus to that of other companies within the same market.  

While Kim and Mauborgne (2002) put a lot of emphasis on competition in 'Charting your company's future', it is interesting to see that in contrast, 'Blue Ocean Strategy' points out that focusing too much on the competitors hinders opportunities for discovering Blue Oceans (Kim and Mauborgne, 2004). It seems as though the author's contradict themselves in these two readings but I guess companies would need to strike a balance between focusing intensely on competitors to have a unique strategy, while also taking the time to look at opportunities in untouched markets. Although I do understand why it would be hard for companies to divert their focus away from competitors and the rivalry that exists between competitors - the satisfaction of winning against others would, in my opinion, feel much better than simply moving to a new market with little or no competition. This is basically what it is like with MikesBikes, each week when we rollover, our team looks to see which of the other competitors we beat and when we come top of our world like this we did this week, it gives us all a feeling of dominance - something we hope to maintain over the rest of the semester.  

All this talk about strategy and reading all about it this week was good, but I have to admit that when it actually comes down to developing a strategy and officially sticking to one, it proves to be somewhat more challenging. When thinking back to last weeks reading about 'gut instincts' (Buchanan and O'Connell, 2006) I feel like, even for someone like me who hates making wrong choices, this idea of relying on gut instincts can still takes over when it is time to identify a strategy - because the thought of going through the traditional strategic planning process of constructing some large document is just daunting. As I stated before, having attempted something similar in a previous class, I can understand why only a handful of strategic plans are put into action. However after reading about Kim and Mauborgne's (2002) visual strategy canvas I think it would be a really useful tool in the future as opposed to writing extensive reports for strategic planning. I think some aspects of the four steps of Visualising strategy (Visual Awakening, Visual Exploration, Visual Strategy Fair, and Visual Communication) are still similar to the traditional written document - namely Visual Awakening and Visual Exploration. Because these steps still involve looking at all the competitors, customers, advantages of products/services etc. All these are essential when trying to come up with a strategy however with the Visualising strategy it's a much more clear-cut to see where the problems may lie and what changes need to be made as was demonstrated with the EFS example in 'Charting your company's future'. I am much more of a visual person so I think forming a strategy canvas as opposed to a long written report would be much more beneficial for me in order to make sure that I use a more systematic method for developing a strategy (especially once I finish university as I plan to pursue a career in Marketing). Nonetheless I do realise that even when developing a strategy canvas, it is not much easier than the traditional method. So in order to improve my ability to go through the strategic planning processes I think I need to be more patient, improve my research skills to analyse the market and identify competition, and focus on sticking to something like Kim and Mauborgne's (2002) strategy canvas process so as to avoid givininto the temptation of using gut instinct when making assumptions about strategy planning

References:

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategyHarvard Business Review, 82(10), 75--84 
Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2002). Charting your company's future. Harvard Business Review, 80(6), 76--83 
Buchanan, L. & O'Connell, A. (2006). A brief history of decision makingHarvard Business Review, 84(1), 32--41 

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to review your learning journal. The main thing of which you have demonstrated learning is that strategy is a very rational and practical concept. What i mean by this is that you have indicated that you really cant predict the best strategy until you have done some practical application of it; you have showed your apprehension to use gut instinct but have demonstrated how this concept does take over from more traditional decision making at times. You have demonstrated the concepts of Daudelins model quite well, but i feel that you could really improve your journals in the future if you begin by addressing an actual issue facing you in terms of your team or work, or life. This will make your understanding and use of the readings and concepts much stronger as you are actually using them to reflect on an inherent issue, the deductive model you have used, where you have tired to find places to make the readings fit in your life, rather than using them as resources; it seems like you are only including them arbitrarily because of this. Thanks again for sharing your journal i will really take out your ability to include reflection from other weeks throughout the course to make my journals much stronger.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to review your learning journal. The main thing of which you have demonstrated learning is the importance of strategy and exactly why it is so important.

    The degree to which you have followed Daudelin's recommended approach for reflecting on a problem not too bad. You have clearly articulated that there is a problem with the process of coming up with the strategy, you have analysed the problem by stating why the traditional strategic planning process is much harder and more confusing than it needs to be (e.g. by saying "t involves a lot of research and once complete, it is just pages and pages of reading of complex terms, graphs and diagrams that are slightly overwhelming") and you have clearly identified how the alternative of using the strategy canvas would help solve this problem. Although you still need to test out whether the strategy canvas addresses this problem in order for action to be taken to solve the problem, you still show a reasonable understanding of Daudelin's reflection process.

    In terms of Bloom's Taxonomy, the highest level you have demonstrated in this journal is 'Application'. This was done when you said "I am much more of a visual person so I think forming a strategy canvas as opposed to a long written report would be much more beneficial for me in order to make sure that I use a more systematic method for developing a strategy (especially once I finish university as I plan to pursue a career in Marketing)". This is because, you showed a good understanding of Daudelin's reflection process and you applied it to a new context i.e. to your own situation.

    In order to improve your journal, with regards to achieving a higher level of Bloom's Taxonomy (the next level being 'Analysis'), I would suggest that you go into more depth about what makes coming up with a strategic plan harder for you and explain exactly why that is the case. This will show that you have further broken down your ¿¿problem to understand the relationship between different parts of your problem. Additionally, as mentioned in the comment above, I agree that you should try and address a genuine problem you face in your journals, as opposed to trying to find a problem to fit the readings. It can be challenging, but it will be much easier to reflect upon something that your feel passionate about and hence make it easier to get to a higher level of Bloom's Taxonomy.

    Thank you again for sharing your work.