Soft or Work Skills Development of Students for Employment

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Soft or Work Skill Development

We often hear talk about generic work skills, soft skills or digital related, but what are they and why are they important?

Hard skills may shortlist you for a job interview, but soft skills will have you selected, and may include the following which could also be described as personal attributes or selection criteria:

 

Communication, Organization, Teamwork, Punctuality, Critical Thinking, Social Skills, Creativity, Interpersonal Communication, Adaptability and Friendliness (Berger 2016).

 

According to Harvard Business Review article ‘DEVELOPING EMPLOYEES: The Soft Skills of Great Digital Organizations’:

 

Smart organizations have recognized that introducing new technology into the workplace isn’t about hardware or software: it’s about wetware, also known as human beings. If you want to be the kind of nimble business that can make the most of successive waves of tech innovation, you need human beings who can adapt to change. That means equipping each person in your enterprise with the skills and mindset that will help them successfully adapt whenever you introduce new tools like Slack, Basecamp, or even Google Drive into your workplace. But what exactly are these digital skills? They may be more familiar and low-tech than you think (Samuel 2016).

 

These could include goal focus, collaboration, communication, learning, troubleshooting and enjoyment.

 

Another view from traditional work of soft skills would designate planning workload, communication, reports, presentations, collecting/using information, note taking, data literacy, projects, ethics, problem solving, decision making, team work, meetings, negotiation, stress management and reviewing one’s own personal skills and development (Bingham and Drew 1999).

 

How does one develop these soft or work skills for work, community and life?

 

According to Open Colleges Australia the following tips are needed to teach students soft skills:

30 Tips to Teach Soft Skills

  1. Give students authentic choices about how they’re going to learn and be assessed.
  2. Provide a learning environment where trust, initiative, and taking risks are encouraged.
  3. Hold all students to the same high standards.
  4. Model perseverance by not giving up on students.
  5. Support students by helping them find their own way.
  6. Demonstrate alternate paths to content mastery.
  7. Teach to the whole person (not just the “student”).
  8. Treat your students as mature individuals, even when they aren’t following instructions.
  9. Talk about tailoring communication styles for different audiences.
  10. 1Build students’ interpersonal skills through an environment of humility and respect.
  11. Help students practise taking on different roles in different situations.
  12. Differentiate opportunities for personal growth and opportunities for team growth.
  13. Cultivate a sense of responsibility through meaningful and unique contribution.
  14. Assign group exercises that give people the opportunity to speak, listen, write, organise, and lead.
  15. Assess learning through interactive evaluations that demand real-world demonstrations of learning.
  16. Challenge students’ reactions to new obstacles and situations.
  17. Emphasise that the same solution doesn’t necessarily work every time, even in the same situation.
  18. Incorporate exercises in delayed gratification in order to build persistence and grit.
  19. Start grading students on how well they listen to their peers.
  20. Discuss the importance of social-emotional intelligence in the real world.
  21. Design opportunities for students to build and demonstrate resilience.
  22. Make learning a personal experience, highlighting the way education shapes personality.
  23. Create opportunities for students to innovate, both on their own and in groups.
  24. Draw attention to the differences between online and in-person social etiquette.
  25. Reward students who are willing to admit they’re wrong.
  26. Recognise students who are committed to communicating ideas to others.
  27. Hold brainstorm sessions in which students list the possible uses for various soft skills.
  28. Help build motivation through principles of self-reliance (read: Emerson, Thoreau).
  29. Keep an open ear and encourage students to develop new thoughts and ideas they may have.
  30. Develop learning ability through greater awareness of individual learning processes (Briggs 2015).

 

Teaching, training or tutoring approaches to learning need to be centred upon student centred andragogy for adults not teacher centred pedagogy for children, see related article blog FLIPPED Model – Pedagogy or Andragogy in Higher Education Teaching Learning.

 

 

References:

 

Berger, G 2016, Data Reveals The Most In-demand Soft Skills Among Candidates, LinkedIn Talent Blog, 30 August, viewed 30 March 2018, < https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/trends-and-research/2016/most-indemand-soft-skills >

 

Bingham, R & Drew, S 1999, Key Work Skills, 1st edn, Gower Publishing Ltd., Aldershot.

 

Briggs, S 2015, 30 Tips to Cultivate Soft Skills in Your Students, Inform Ed – Open Colleges, 1 May, viewed 30 March 2018, < https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/30-ways-to-cultivate-soft-skills-in-your-students >

 

Samuel, A 2016, ‘DEVELOPING EMPLOYEES: The Soft Skills of Great Digital Organizations’, Harvard Business Review, 5 February, viewed 21 March 2018,
< https://hbr.org/2016/02/the-soft-skills-of-great-digital-organizations >

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VET Vocational Education Training TAFE TAE and Related Issues

Following is an excerpt from a news article and an Education Minister’s press release proposing new source of school teachers while the vocational system is in a state of flux with the sub-optimal TAE Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and quality.

Workplace Training in Australia and the TAE Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Workplace Training in Australia and the TAE Photo by Mikes Photos from Pexels

From tradies to teachers: The plan to ‘shake up Australia’s schools‘.  The Turnbull government wants to encourage tradies to become teachers, and nurses to swap the clinic for the classroom, under a plan to “shake up” the country’s schools.

A national review of teacher registration – to be announced Saturday – will look to streamline the process for becoming a teacher around Australia……

At present, most states require teachers to attain at least a diploma of education, if not an undergraduate teaching degree……..

….Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it should be easier for people with experience in specialist areas to teach those trades at schools and vocational colleges…

…Australia’s falling position on global literacy and numeracy rankings, as well as disappointing NAPLAN results, have worried education ministers around the country.

 

The article does not offer any context or reason for the Minister’s or the government’s ‘plan’?

The Australian Education Council has not made any related public statements, let alone conducted research?

For the government, the Minister and the Education Department’s interest, there TAE40116 – Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is already a pathway for trades and healthcare personnel to teach or train:

Qualification Description

This qualification reflects the roles of individuals delivering training and assessment services in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.

This qualification (or the skill sets derived from units of competency within it) is also suitable preparation for those engaged in the delivery of training and assessment of competence in a workplace context, as a component of a structured VET program.

The volume of learning of a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment is typically six months to two years.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Achievement of this qualification by trainers is a requirement of the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015

 

Further, in a relate article from Jim Munro, CEO of the Resources Training Council ‘The TAE debacle – a resources sector view’:

It is this writer’s opinion, that since BSZ, this program has been slowly hi-jacked by those who have no idea of what happens in the real world of workplace training. It has become a qualification for the training industry, not industry that trains.

 

One has observed in the past generation or two, several significant changes including removal of many technical streams and sometimes active ‘dumbing down’ of high school or matriculation education curricula (lower competency for entry to STEM or university, lack of skills in language, literacy and numeracy LLN, and removal of explicit teaching of ‘critical thinking’), teaching becoming too academic and pedagogic (teacher directed) based, versus andragogic (student centred); overseen by teacher unions, the (hollowed out) bureaucracy, resurgence in old conservative ideas of education and looking down at VET or TAFE.

Appears to be following the US conservative and/or nativist strategy of supporting elite schools and compromising the rest, leading to sub-optimal education and training outcomes in society and employment, exemplified by dumbing down, anti-science sentiment, leveraging or compromising sympathetic paid academia or research for political purposes etc.; leading to or maintaining more compliant, observant and respectful (to authority) society?

Ten years ago, we had John Howard promoting the anti ‘black arm band’ version of history, school chaplain program (outsourced to some dubious US influenced charities), last week the Liberal Opposition in Victoria mooted the idea of police permanently based in schools and now federally the government is planning that ‘tradies’ and ‘nurses’ can transfer into high schools, why do they want this disruption?

It may also follow the nostalgia of work and need to have influence, not just for conservatives of the right, but old ‘culturally specific’ white working-class conservatives in the important upper age median vote, who used to vote Labor?

They could do better by improving the Cert IV qualification or TAE which is seriously flawed due to focus upon narrow training package inputs, and assessment outputs with administration of related process and document management, or Taylor’s ‘Scientific Management’ as used on assembly lines.

However, the TAE ignores or is not fit for purpose when it does not equip trainers with practical skills to deliver quality training and learning, more about leading learners to become robots (workers following instructions) in a system of processes made easier to administer and audit; maybe the intention?

Rather than reinvent the wheel just fix up the existing wheel to offer training or teaching opportunities to ‘tradies’ and nurses, maybe review and improve the career or further study counselling youth receive from teachers, parents and peers, while repairing TAE and VET sector’s reputation?

 

 

 

FLIPPED Model – Pedagogy or Andragogy in Higher Education Teaching Learning

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FLIPPED Teaching and Learning Model in Higher Education

 

Introduction

 

Nowadays in higher education there is much talk of MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses), e-learning, blended learning and the ‘FLIPPED’ (Flexible Environments, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, Professional Educators, Progressive Activities, Engaging Experiences, and Diversified Platforms) classroom; what does it mean, what are the issues and solutions?

 

Brief Literature Review

 

One of the first issues to be apparent is that ‘FLIPPED learning’ is under utilised and even when utilised, there maybe sub-optimal delivery for good teaching and learning outcomes (Chen et al., 2014).  Conversely, whether a fee-paying program, compulsory K12 or a MOOC, FLIPPED learning can dramatically increase access (Hazlett, 2014).

 

Flipped classroom is also a benefit to both teaching and learning, with students being exposed to subject content online and participate in active lessons; moving away from teacher directed pedagogy to student centred learning or andragogy (especially important for transition of youth to adulthood).  The benefits are exemplified by less homework issues, question and answer, deeper exploration and those away with illness can keep up.  For teachers it means supporting students in application, reusable, easier individual student attention and more transparency for parents (Mihai, 2016).

 

Another view includes the following benefits: more student control, student centred, content more accessible for students or parents, and more efficient.  However, this is tempered by disadvantages of digital divide or illiteracy, requires significant preparation and front-end input, not good for test preparation and increased screen time (Acedo, 2013).

 

Other related concerns including potential side lining of teachers and their related skills, online content and instructional design can be boring versus active and interesting lessons, excusing bad pedagogy, internet access issues (e.g. Australia has internet speed and bandwidth issues comparing with less developed nations), assuring online content e.g. videos are watched, online content and instructional design can be very time consuming (November & Mull, 2012).

 

What are the issues for FLIPPED model in adult vocation or higher education teaching and learning?

 

The obvious issue is that when developed for K12 it is based upon pedagogic learning theories for children and youth, supported by teachers with strong background in theory and application of teaching, learning, assessment and technology.  However, this may not translate well to adult education, vocational or higher education requiring skills of applying andragogy i.e. matching adult learning styles with instructors, trainers, teachers or lecturers lacking the same education background.

 

What are the differences between pedagogy and andragogy in teaching and learning?

 

Firstly, what do adults bring to learning and how do they learn optimally as identified by Malcolm Knowles?  Knowles identified six principles including internal motivation and self-direction, life experience and knowledge, goal oriented, relevancy, practical and need for respect.  Contrasted with pedagogy in the following table:

 

Andragogy versus Pedagogy in FLIPPED Model for Higher Education

Andragogy versus Pedagogy for the FLIPPED Model in Higher Education

(Education Technology & Mobile Learning, 2018)

 

Reflection on issues and solutions for FLIPPED Model in Higher Education

 

One has experienced online blinded learning in higher education i.e. online MBA with webinars, CPD (Continuing Professional Development) via e-learning platform and vocational training certificate via distance learning and recorded webinars as ‘add-ons’, not well integrated.

 

Issues encountered included lack of teaching, learning, assessment and technology skills in instructional design, lesson planning, delivery of interesting lessons, developing and testing activity resources, creating opportunities for interactivity, involving all students (not just strong or dominant), using existing or old lecture slides for content, technology breakdowns with no disaster plan, not using or updating discussion forums and relying too much on ‘presenting’ versus teaching.

 

Solutions could include CPD like ‘train the trainer’ or in Australia the TAE40116 Certificate IV Trainer & Assessor, however many are not suitable for adult learners whether young or old.  In more diverse international cohorts where English is not the first language, adapt using the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate to Teach English Language to Adults) framework (applied qualification studied full time intensively four weeks including practice and observations).

 

The latter is especially well designed to include all learning theories including pedagogy and importantly andragogy, for student centred communication interaction.  It is based on the PPP model (Presentation, Practice and Production), when applied well is active, interesting, with clear learning outcomes and multi levelled hidden curriculum, in addition to communication skills, when pitched at advanced or proficiency level students (UCLES, 2018).

 

Nowadays with empowered and fee paying adult learners, top down directed teaching and learning of subject matter may neither be accepted nor acceptable?

 

Reference List

 

Acedo, M. (2013) 10 Pros and Cons of a Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-pros-cons-flipped-classroom/  (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Chen, Y; Wang, Y; Kinshuk & Chen, N. (2014) Is FLIP enough? Or should we use the FLIPPED model instead? Computers & Education. 79 pp. 16-27. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131514001559

 

Education Technology & Mobile Learning (2018) Awesome Chart on “Pedagogy versus Andragogy”.  Available at: https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/05/awesome-chart-on-pedagogy-vs-andragogy.html (Accessed on: 28 January 2018).

 

Hazlett, C. (2014) Parallel Sessions: MOOC meets Flipped Classroom. Available at: https://blog.edx.org/parallel-sessions-mooc-meets-flipped (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Mihai, L. (2016) Blended Learning: 8 Flipped Classroom Benefits for Students and Teachers. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/8-flipped-classroom-benefits-students-teachers (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

November, A. & Mull, B. (2012) Flipped Learning: A Response to Five Common Criticisms. Available at: http://web.uvic.ca/~gtreloar/Articles/Technology/flipped-learning-a-response-to-five-common-criticisms.pdf (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

UCLES (2018) Cambridge English Teaching Framework. Available at: http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/teaching-english/cambridge-english-teaching-framework/ (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).

 

Business Simulation Exemplar – Cochlear Hearing Implants

Business Simulation – Competitive Environment

in Taiwan for Cochlear

 

Cochlear can enter this market fully not just on cost leadership and differentiation, but also help shape the industry in a relatively high income nation, already with an existing presence in the region, though minimal in Taiwan.  Following is, according to Porter’s five forces (Porter,1985), an overview of new competition, product substitution, buyer power, supplier power and existing competition aspects of the competitive environment for Cochlear.

 

Of the companies or potential competitors previously mentioned, they all could threaten with high levels of capital access, new product development potential, partnerships or acquisitions and close cultural ties with Taiwan, i.e. both the PRC China and Japanese companies.

On the other hand, Australia and Cochlear do have a profile in the region with quite a good product brand for quality, innovation and relationships with broad stakeholders.  This is complemented further by the Taiwan government having a broad biotechnology policy which could create opportunities for in country presence, research, cooperation or joint ventures (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

However, there is direct competition from Chinese private company Nurotron, with the single product the Venus Cochlear Implant System, with R&D in California and manufacturing in China (Nurotron, 2016).  Nurotron recently won one of the largest orders from the Chinese state to provide their budget or lower cost product through a state tender system, in which Cochlear was also competing (Bennett & Giancola, 2015).

 

Cochlear can lead on cost, product differentiation and quality without competition in the short and medium term, via their product suite which includes Cochlear Implants – Nucleus 6 System, Baha Bone Conduction Implant and further suite of Cochlear Acoustic Implants.

 

Due to the uniqueness and differentiation of products, for now, Cochlear has a significant advantage over potential new market entrants and existing providers, if they decided to enter the market, i.e. budget segment in Taiwan, with Cochlear still premium for performance segment.

 

While Nurotron etc. and Cochlear are competitors, including in China, Cochlear has had a near monopoly on high quality bionic hearing products, translating into continued high prices through most global markets. However, e.g. Nurotron is a clear threat for ‘product substitution’ in the budget market growing organically on population demographics of the Chinese mainland, potentially replicable elsewhere through cross subsidisation, partnership or acquisition (Bloomberg, 2013).

 

Cochlear may have to monitor over the short medium term signals from potential new market entrants, competitive products or substitutes and large players with access to capital able to undercut the market if and when they enter.  When the market has signalled a move to more competition and maturity, Cochlear will need to consider options to keep costs down, retain sufficient market share and profitability, with continued innovation e.g. joint ventures with local or other competition on budget products?

 

Ideally Cochlear will compete on differentiation through continued investment in innovation in the short to medium term rather than competing on cost with technically inferior products.

 

What strategies would you recommend?

 

If not competing on price or cost in a new market, but through investment in technical innovation according to the five forces (Porter, 1985), both new competition and potential product substitution needs to be monitored by Cochlear’s marketing with existing limited presence e.g. new entrants, potential innovations and market demand.  Further, as experienced in CompXM simulation environment the following elements of buyer power, supplier power and existing competition, can be leveraged at the expense of an incumbent or new entrant like Cochlear.

 

In short, a large competitor with global presence could potentially enter Taiwan with high performance products, moderate pricing and high customer satisfaction impacting Cochlear’s market share, sales and profitability.  Cochlear also needs to be wary of similar or related threat of product substitution by continuing to invest in innovation, for superior quality products, keeping a ‘step ahead’.

 

Cochlear will need to be aware of issues discussed previously, with focus upon the value chain (IMA Institute of Management Accountants, 1996), and if competition does emerge, value chain may need to be leveraged further to maintain market share and profitability, with focus upon the product life cycle (Klepper, 1996).  This would include marketing division and Cochlear’s networks remaining informed of Taiwan market, including ongoing feedback from direct and indirect customers, especially the need for improvements based upon customer satisfaction and forecasting of demand.

 

This also leads onto leveraging production and finance well where the former needs ongoing investment to increase automation and possibly increased plant capacity to lower costs, in a potentially more competitive price environment.  If this is to be achieved sales and profitability need to be maintained; in future outsourcing, joint ventures or purchases could be considered to ameliorate any long term rise in costs that may impact profitability.

 

There may need to be assumptions made e.g. move towards a mature and stable market with competition in future, medium or long term, however ageing population and longevity could maintain growth (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).  Assuming innovation continues, financial focus will become more important, especially keeping costs within bounds that allow profitability and continuing to attract investment.  Cochlear may have to consider contingencies or alternatives if e.g. new competition enters, maturing market with slower growth and downward price pressure, may require production alternatives whether elsewhere or contracting out.

 

Summary of Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Cochlear’s strengths are high innovation, strong health medical research with global links, unique products, very good product differentiation, trusted brand, regional and global footprint, with limited presence in Taiwan.  Further importance is human capital, expert personnel with strong ethnic connection to proposed new market, experience of new market entry and higher education or research links.

 

However, regarding potential weaknesses, there is little previous direct experience of Taiwan, risk of focusing upon costs versus investing in innovation to maintain share price, securing and maintaining intellectual property rights, high expectations after much global and regional success; not forgetting the impact of silo mentality on divisions, plus potential cross cultural issues amongst personnel.  The latter aspect is important, whether R&D, marketing, production, finance or management with predominantly ‘Anglo-Celtic or ‘white Australian’ whilst divisions would no doubt include Australians of Chinese heritage from old Cantonese, through Singaporean, Malaysian and PRC China, plus Taiwanese.

 

Competitive Strategy through Porter’s Five Forces

 

For now, and in the short term, Cochlear can develop competitive strategy (Porter, 1985) based upon differentiation through a suite of innovative products being updated or introduced, and presently produced in both Australia and Sweden.  While Cochlear has a dominant global market share, high direct and indirect customer awareness with growth and innovative products, premium pricing should be possible in Taiwan as a middle income nation (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

Due to proximity of Taiwan and nature of the products, production and shipping costs may not be a very significant issue (with high automation levels), but this will probably change in future as Taiwan and other markets mature with more competition thus potentially slower growth (possibly offset by ageing population).  Australia, as happens now, would be the obvious choice for maintaining R&D and production base being same region, time zone, short air freight times and very strong human relationships whether social, research or business.  Further, if needed, Sweden can be a backup for supply, or leveraging contract manufacturing and health medical research expertise in Asia for outsourcing e.g. Singapore, Malaysia or Taiwan itself via subsidiaries or research institutes.

 

Market research and ongoing market intelligence will be essential for signals and information about actual and potential competitors or new entrants, while organic use of existing relationships and systems should allow monitoring of the situation, both quantitative and qualitative market research.  The importance of good forecasting cannot be ignored as any mismatch between actual and forecast demand can lead to either missed market opportunities or increased costs, especially if forced to outsource.  Conversely excess inventory should be avoided, although excess could be potentially transferred to other regions.  Cochlear’s existing limited presence in Taiwan bionic hearing devices could be leveraged to support ongoing market research and intelligence for expansion.

 

If and when new competition does emerge a risk would be product substitution, especially in budget sector where lower cost competitors could leverage their advantage, e.g. PRC China, on state tenders and contracts.  This may require more focus upon continuing innovation for premium priced niche products in tandem with cost cutting on budget, or co-operation with potential partners on budget production, whether joint venture or licensing.

 

With any new competition which generally has a global presence too allowing cross-subsidisation, there may be indirect pressure through buyers having other choices, both budget and performance, with potentially lower prices impacting profitability.  Again Cochlear may need to consider other options whether partnerships, licensing or other production options, to lower costs thus addressing both buyer and other supplier power.

 

Supplier power of both competitors and Cochlear can be minimised for the former and utilised by the latter.  Simple fact is that Cochlear is continually investing in R&D, innovation and new product releases with high awareness, commensurate reputation for quality, proximity to Taiwan and perception of Australia as a benign or friendly trading partner versus potential competitors or existing competition elsewhere from larger sometimes dominant nations i.e. PRC China, USA and Japan.

 

Focus upon the Value Chain

 

The important value chain process includes R&D, marketing, production and finance (IMA, 1996), along with elements of the product life cycle.  Again, these include earlier ease of entry, product choices and product development which then becomes slower with maturity, fewer product or competitor exits, less innovation and more focus upon production costs and retaining market share (Klepper, 1996).

 

R&D requires retention of strong links and investment into related research: in-house, education institutions and research centres, both Australia and target market(s), continually.  Again, this must include maintenance and leveraging of existing and new human capital through social, research and business links between Australia, Taiwan and region especially via Taiwan’s biotechnology strategy for R&D and investment (Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office, 2016).

 

Marketing focus should be upon matching customer, intermediary and supplier needs, retail, corporate and state, complemented by dynamic, valid and reliable market research with more accurate forecasting. A significant element of marketing between Australia and the region, including Taiwan, are the perceptions of Australia e.g. innovation, quality, trust, proximity, awareness and ‘big face’ i.e. increased value of premium international products versus budget.  Again, Cochlear can use its very limited but existing client presence in Taiwan to ensure valid and reliable market research, especially qualitative for market intelligence.

 

Production needs higher automation required to keep costs down, avoidance of excess inventory, focus upon actual vs potential demand for better forecasting, adaptability and flexibility.  Presently Australian based production, due to products being highly sophisticated digital electronics, is done on campus at Macquarie University Sydney, accessing R&D, expertise and highly skilled operators.  If there are production issues based upon capacity and cost, other Asian subsidiaries could assist with outsourcing via science or research hubs such as Singapore, and Taiwan itself (Ibid.).

 

Finance strategy would be maintenance of a strong balance sheet helped by global market share and income, ensure financial KPIs are at optimal level and do not decline.  Cochlear has a proven reputation amongst international investment analysts for good management, strategy, increasing sales, profits, share price and dividend growth; with investment in R&D and innovation.  Investment and financing issues for local biotechnology companies has been highlighted in Taiwan which may create a niche for the likes of Cochlear to enter.  While looking to the future capacity and costs, more use could be made of production near or around existing Asian subsidiaries to take advantage of future regional growth, and Africa.

 

If Cochlear can focus on new market opportunities via these aforementioned strategies and with an added emphasis upon human capital, Taiwan can be both a new and significant long term market for bionic hearing implants.

Conclusion

 

The CAPSIM Global DNA and Comp-XM business simulations are practical virtual tools for development of inter-dependent company personnel in R&D, marketing, production and finance divisions; in addition to application of scenario planning, strategy and KPI feedback for main regional competitive markets.

 

In the first simulation Chester in Global DNA was a global niche differentiator for performance products in home market the Americas, in addition to Europe and Asia Pacific; resulting in a leading market position yet without dominating markets.  The simulation allowed focus upon KPIs including profitability, ability to raise capital, asset utilisation, forecasting, inventory management, customer satisfaction and competition; highlighting the inter-play between these and other variables.

 

Meanwhile the Comp-XM lower growth environment via Andrew’s was similar with two main products Able for budget and Acre for performance with strategy of lowering costs, higher automation, future organic growth, customer satisfaction and increased value.

 

Both simulations required focus upon customer satisfaction or buying criteria including price, age, ideal position and service life, with at least two products to cover both budget and performance; in addition to incremental changes or updates.  Comp-XM emphasised the need for cost control e.g. increased investment in automation, and addressing customer satisfaction through continued investment in R&D and product updates.

 

The Comp-XM market environment suggested need for higher specifications for both budget and performance, without increasing prices significantly, and in some cases decreasing prices to maintain or defend market share.  This was confirmed by unexpected events due to competition either entering and dominating market by lower prices, and conversely superior performance or technical specifications.  Final results were mixed due to the latter events, particularly sub-optimal finances, inaccurate forecasting of demand and meeting increased demands of customer satisfaction.

 

For Cochlear the simulations highlighted need for real world competitive strategy through understanding markets and competition to create profitability.  Importantly meeting or exceeding customer satisfaction requirements is essential through focusing upon and leveraging all divisions in the value chain.  The stress should be upon the product lifecycle exemplified by continued investment in R&D and innovation to keep abreast or ahead of the competition, without needing to even dominate the market to be profitable.

 

Cochlear can enter or expand significantly the Taiwanese market successfully by strategy addressing all the key elements of perpetual R&D along with marketing and market research, with commensurate adaptability in production, have sound finances to both control costs and attract further investment.  Like simulations are an opportunity to have divisional personnel experiment together on strategy and other divisions, it also suggests the need to have human resource strategies attracting personnel competent in key skills sets, both technical and soft.

 

  References & Bibliography

 

Advameg, Inc. (2016) Cochlear Ltd. – Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Cochlear Ltd. Available from: http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/29/Cochlear-Ltd.html (Accessed 27/7/16).

Anderson, P. & Lawton, L. Business Simulations and Cognitive Learning: Developments, Desires, and Future Directions, Simulation & Gaming. Sage Journals. 2009 USA.

 

Austrade, (2016) Industries – Export Markets – Taiwan – Market Profile. Available at: http://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Export/Export-markets/Countries/Taiwan/Market-profile (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bennett & Giancola (2015) Nurotron Biotechnology Wins Tender.  Available at: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/11/prweb13104465.htm (Accessed 28/7/16).

 

Bingham, R. & Drew, S. (1999) Key Work Skills, Aldershot/England: Gower.

 

Biotech & Pharmaceutical Industries Program Office (2016) Taiwan’s Biotech Industry Overview. Available at:  http://www.bdi.ie/presentations/taiwan_workshop/taiwan_research_groups_day_1/Prof_Chei_Hsiang_-_Taiwans_Biotech_Industry_Overview.pdf (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Bloomberg, (2013) Nurotron Annual Report. Available from: http://www.nurotron.com/sites/default/files/2013.3.31%20Bloomberg%20-%20Nurotron%20Report.pdf (Accessed 27/05/2016).

 

Comp-XM (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Cochlear (2015) Cochlear Annual Report 2015 – Hearing Performance. Sydney: Cochlear.  Available from: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999/en_corporate_annualreport2015_financial_1.54mb.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=2a3956c0-f09d-4ce7-a8c9-8b0ddccf1999 (Accessed: 27/05/2016).

 

Economist Intelligence Unit (2016) Taiwan Healthcare.  Available at: http://country.eiu.com/Industry.aspx?Country=Taiwan&topic=Industry&subtopic=Healthcare (Accessed 7/9/16).

 

Global DNA (2016) The Globe Report, Chicago, IL: Capsim Management Simulations.

 

Gosenpud, J.; Miessing, P. & Milton, C. (1984) A Research Study on Strategic Decisions in a Business Simulation.  Developments in Business Simulation & Experiential Learning, Volume 11, 1984

 

Institute of Management Accountants IMA (1996) Value Chain Analysis for Assessing Competitive Advantage. Statements on Management Accounting. Practice of Management Accounting. Montvale N.J.: Institute of Management Accountants.

 

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Business Simulation – Strategic Management – Higher Education – Capsim

Featured

Business Simulation Capsim

 

Global DNA & Comp-XM – Company Exemplar – Cochlear Bionic Hearing Implants

 

Abstract or executive summary of a business simulation report presented to faculty in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Business Administration (International Business) at European University Business School & University of Roehampton.

 

 

Executive Summary

 

Cochlear Australia has potential to enter, create market share and be profitable in the Taiwanese market for bionic hearing implant devices; without need for dominating.  Taiwan has a state and private backed health sector, biotechnology strategy, middle income nation of 23.5 million, ageing population through improved longevity, almost all are insured and excellent relations with Australia.

 

Any successful strategy will be based upon research and development R&D, marketing, production and finance divisions; with commensurate excellence in human resources with strong focus upon innovation, differentiated products, customer satisfaction, forecasting, cost control and attracting further investment.

 

Through using two Capsim business simulations, Global DNA and Comp-XM, relevant and inter-dependent personnel can develop strategies, then apply and evaluate key performance indicators KPIs for testing the market, in addition to lessening the impact of silo mentality.  Simulation, risk free, exemplified the need for investment in innovation and automation to satisfy customers, good communication, forecasting and cost control for continued profitability.

 

Simulations showed the need for a suite of products for both budget and performance, while suggesting a trend towards moderate pricing to retain market share.  This was confirmed by impairment due to unexpected events including price cutting or dumping of competitor products, in addition to lagging on higher specifications on products and automation; both making forecasting of demand and sales difficult.  The lesson was never assume anything, especially market dominance or competitive share, and be constantly aware of the market, including awareness of other divisions.

 

The optimal strategy reflected the need for achieving customer satisfaction in both budget and performance segments through incremental improvements, investment in R&D, plant automation investment, leading onto cost control, profitability and then attracting continued investment through sound financial KPIs.

 

As markets mature the strategy is important, while understanding that organic profit growth is achievable even if population growth slows and market share remains static, as the population ages and suffers widespread age-related hearing impairment.

 

The first simulation Global DNA in a higher growth environment followed by the lower growth Comp-XM highlighted that markets may not continually grow thus precluding market domination and increased sales.

 

However, both simulations indicated that profitability could be maintained without dominating market share provided customer satisfaction was addressed with continual attracting of investment in R&D and product innovation, plant automation lowering costs and human resource development.

 

Cochlear could leverage such simulations further for both new or existing market strategy and planning, in addition to supporting the skills development of all relevant company personnel globally, thus achieving share and stakeholder objectives.