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Journal Critique: Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One (Article Critique Sample)


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Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One
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Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One
1 Name(s) of the author(s): W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
2 Title of article: Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One
3 Title of journal, volume number, date, month, and page numbers: The article was removed from the Harvard Business Review website and therefore has no journal name or volume number. It featured on the Harvard Business Review magazine for the September-October 2000 issue.
4 Statement of the problem or issue discussed: The statement of the problem is how to determine if a new business idea will be a commercial success. Most companies have a challenging time evaluating the viability of new business ideas. It would help if businesses had an accurate and effective way of assessing the commercial success of their novel proposals. The issue discussed in the paper is how companies can reduce uncertainty when assessing innovations and commercial viability of new business ideas.
5 The author’s purpose, approach or methods, hypothesis, and major conclusions: The authors’ purpose is to discuss ways of appraising a new business idea. It is the two authors’ intention to help businesses know how to evaluate new business ideas. The approach is reviewing several case studies in relation to three proposed tools. The three proposed tools are buyer utility map, the price corridor of the mass, and the business model guide. It is hypothesized that the three tools can help business managers know if a new business idea will be a success. The authors theorize that applying the three tools will help businesses better evaluate their business plans. The authors’ conclude that the three tools are integral to reducing uncertainty when assessing innovations and commercial viability of new business ideas. They also conclude that other organizational factors such as resistance from shareholders, the employees, or even the public may encumber a new business idea. It is important that business managers gain the support of these three groups before implementing a new business idea.
The article “Knowing a Winning Business Idea When You See One” was written by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne and published by the Harvard Business Publishing. It featured in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) September – October 2000. The issue discussed in the paper is how companies can reduce uncertainty when assessing innovations and commercial viability of new business ideas. Kim and Mauborgne describe three tools that business managers can use to evaluate the potential of new business ideas, over and above, develop coherent approaches for becoming successful at business innovation. The three tools proposed by the authors are the buyer utility map (indicates if and how likely customers will be interested and attracted to a novel business idea), the price corridor of the mass (identifies what price will yield the largest group of customers), and the business model guide (provides a framework for determining if and how the business can profitably carry out the new idea at the strategic price) (W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne, 2017). The article also lists the various groups that may strongly resist the new idea and how the company can overcome the adoption hurdle. This paper will provide a critique of the article and assess both its strengths and shortcomings.
The title of the article is appropriate and clear: it indicates what the article is about without containing irrelevant information. It is also brief, attractive, and aptly informative about what the authors are discussing in the piece. While the article is not a research paper, the first paragraphs are concise, archetypal of the article, and in a suitable form. They make it clear that the article is geared towards business executives and entrepreneurs and present the dilemma most startups face when determining if a new idea will be a commercial success. The purpose of the article is also made clear in the introductory sections. It begins with the case study of Motorola which in 1998 launched the novel Iridium, the first mobile phone at the time to provide uninterrupted wireless communication throughout the globe, irrespective of the terrain or country (Kim & Mauborgne, 2000). Unfortunately, the business idea was a flop because the executives of the company failed to adequately consider the many downsides of the product. The example provides an attention-grabbing start to the article which promptly addresses the uncertainties surrounding innovation. It directly outlines a systematic approach to lowering the uncertainties of new business ideas, and how to ensure commercial success of the same, by using records of more than 100 businesses that managed to innovate successfully and also those whose products and services were displaced by the new entrants.
There are no errors of fact and interpretation in the article. The examples used in the piece to support the authors’ arguments are fitting and apply in the particular situations in which the arguments are made. These outside sources are credible and further validate the three tools proposed for creating exceptional utility, identifying an inimitable price, and building a profitable business model. Kim and Mauborgne adequately support their assertions by implementing real examples of companies that used the outlined tools to create a unique utility proposition and capture niche markets without misconstruing facts. There is no instance where the authors illustrate influence of cognitive bias or deviate from the truth in case study interpretation to arrive at misleading conclusions. In sum, the arguments made are sound, accurate, fair, and objectively characterize the steps necessary in deciding if a business idea is capable of creating a unique utility proposition from current products, if it is correctly priced and therefore insulated from rivals with imitation products or services, and if it is founded on a viable business model that will guarantee profitability. All of the discussion is relevant and revolves around the enduring uncertainty facing all startups: will the new business idea become a commercial success? All arguments are germane to the three tools proposed by the authors and there are no sections of the piece that require to be condensed or omitted.
The authors cite pertinent literature. Each of the case study used in the article is relevant and consequential in making a valid and sound argument. The examples of Motorola, Bloomberg, Starbucks, Dell, Philips, Schwab, eBay, Home Depot, Quicken, Kinepolis, Southwest Airlines, Dyson Vacuum Cleaners, CNN, Swatch, among others make compelling illustrations of instances when a business applied one or all of the three tools to differentiate itself and capture new market niches or failed to do so with ruinous consequences. All examples illustrate thorough reasoning and support the article’s claims. They are pertinent to showing the benefits and dangers of failing to consider product differentiation, cost innovativeness, and business model as criteria for commercial success. There are no ambiguous statements throughout the article and all statements are relatively clear and straightforward. The

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