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When I think of strategy, I think of the ways in which we set our selves up to achieve a goal. A strategy does not mean a rule book or a map. A strategy should allow a team to be able to revert back to the core beliefs which they hold in order for them to achieve their desired goal. For our team much like most others based off the journals I have read, is to win the overall Mikes Bikes competition. Our strategy during the practice rollovers is far different from the strategy we are employing in the real rollovers. This to me highlights an issue with the readings and I would instead of reflect on my experiences which correspond to the readings but in fact how my experiences thus far diverge from the readings.

Blue Ocean Strategy.

In an ideal world, we would all swim in Blue Oceans. A wondrous world of non-competition and high profits. Kim and Mauborgne argue that, "The logic behind Blue Ocean strategy parts with traditional models focused on competing in existing market space," and that in comparison to regular business models concerned with entering existing markets that blue ocean strategy is one which involves no competition. I however struggle to even agree that blue ocean strategy is even a strategy. Kim and Mauborgne acknowledge strategy's roots in military warfare and I acknowledge also that strategy and any definition is by no means a static entity however; arguing that that blue ocean is a strategy is like saying a team playing in a competition by itself is a competitive team.

I have several issues with the concept of "blue oceans". I do not think that blue oceans are necessarily as easy to obtain and sustain than Kim and Mauborgne connote. Not to take anything away from Cirque Du Soleil, but it was a matter of time before someone thought of a way to attract a dwindling audience to the traditional circus market. It is argued in the case that blue oceans tend to be stumbled upon and it is possible, even pertinent for businesses to be able to find a blue ocean. In the examples given and from the logic put forth, blue oceans are a very attainable reality and that problem really lies in fish swimming in the wrong direction which is downstream into a red ocean. The problem I see with the theory is that I think most businesses realise that there is many great ideas out there but I feel like in this instance much like the analogy, "the winners write history," that Kim and Mauborgne are painting too pretty of a picture of blue oceans as a beacon of hope. Blue ocean strategy and its sustainable profits from being the only competitor in the market is a deceiving mirage in my mind. Entrepreneurs, innovators and other business-people alike constantly strive for the fruits which blue oceans bear, but in reality, launching into an un-established market with no established customer base is highly risky and I believe that people acknowledge that. I believe that Kim and Mauborgne underestimate the intelligence of business people as well as the reluctancy of consumers to adopt totally new products and business models. Sure the examples they use are strong and illustrate the benefits which come along with 100% market capitalisation but I think we all were taught throughout the education system or at least I have that we should make SMART goals. R in this accronym stands for realistic. Sure it is possible to dominate one market in Mikes Bikes and completely dominate the whole game like the example Dr. Smith described this week, but realistically it won't happen and that we as competitors in the same simulation will not allow that to happen. 

I firmly believe that it isn't the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but in fact the most adaptable will survive. I think that if you were to put forth a strategy only on Racers much like Strictly Racers in the world we are competing in where they are only going to make one type of bike for the rest of the simulation that they have already shot themselves in the foot and that they underestimate the tenacity we have as competitors to beat them at their own game. Strictly Racers to me are adopting a Blue Ocean strategy, one where if they are strong enough at the start they will scare all the other competitors off and they will be able to dominate that one segment of the market. Each to their own, but I feel like that is a strategy which would be great story to be told if they did manage to pull off a blue ocean level of success but I fear that all too often people try for blue ocean strategy and end up failing and we never hear about their story.

My case.

In application to our teams strategy, we have committed to a particular strategy but are building platforms with which we can also launch from into different directions should the market dramatically change which from experience is highly likely in Mikes Bikes. I'm no Mikes Bikes god, nor do i think I am like some people, but I feel that committing to a definite strategy in an infinitely changing simulation like Mikes Bikes isn't the one which will REALISTICALLY reap the best rewards. I am not denying the possibility of success of that mindset but I respect my fellow classmates and competitors enough to ¿analyse my groups movements for me to REALISTICALLY aim to compete in a red ocean environment in this instance of Mikes Bikes. I think from our experiences as a group that our team are not buoyed by the bright lights of blue oceans and will happily wad in the waters of a red ocean for the purposes of Mikes Bikes. In our practice rollovers we did really well. We committed to a racer dominant strategy where we tried to dominate that market as it was the most economically appealing. The problem was is that our classmates thought exactly the same thing and in some cases some teams had the same strategy as us but executed it better. I feel like our firm would have been able to adapt had we more rollovers but we definitely found ourselves in a less than expected position than what we had originally planned but only because we were beginning to realise the dynamics of real competition as opposed to the at times misleading offline mode Net Mike. 

References

Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R. (2004). Blue ocean strategyHarvard Business Review, 82(10), 75---84

2 Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for doing this learning journal, albeit a late one.

    The main thing that you which you have demonstrated with this learning is that you are critical ans skeptical of academic literature. You are now able to critically engage with theory as opposed to fully buy into it as in reality not everything written in textbooks works in practice all the time.

    Unfortunately you haven't exactly followed Daudelin's recommended approach by stepping away from experiences and critically engaging with them, instead you ahve dove head-first into critical examination of theory and trying to apply it once it has been criticized. 

    I think that the highest level of Bloom's taxonomy you reached was Analysis. This is evident where you were argueing that the application of blue ocean strategy does not neccessarilly hold up in a simulation scenario such as Mikes Bikes.

    To improve I would suggest focusing more on how you experienced the theory in application, you can still criticize it as you go along as you highlight the conflicting ideas, but it is important for you to reflect alongside this critical theory examination.

    Thanks for writing this journal, I have learned that it is best to hand things in on time and that you need to have better time management.

    Matt.

  2. Hey Matt,

    Thank you for the opportunity to review your learning journal. I found the quality of your writing quite high this week, and I enjoyed reading your journal.

    I felt like you have followed Daudelin's approach to a degree, although it could have been improved if you chose to look at the problems you encountered from another perspective, and then stated how you could improve.

    In my opinion you reached the analysis stage of Bloom's taxonomy. This was evident in the stage where you argued about blue oceans and how, in your opinion, they don't exist. I liked where you applied it to your own situation, and this shows me that you are definitely on the right track. I thought to improve this, and reach the evaluative stage, you could have looked for solutions and evaluated different outcomes more.

    Again, thank you for sharing your journal with us. It has taught me to question the readings in the way that you have.