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Nth Degree Strategy Internet Analysis Example -- Walt Disney's Theme Parks

Apr 16, 2008
Let's start with the basics of Nth degree strategy analysis concerning the Internet, and pick some areas where you want to have an advantage. Since almost everyone knows something about the Walt Disney Company and its theme parks, let's assume that the theme parks division of Disney is doing this exercise.

A good place to start is to consider what your enterprise is already doing well. The theme parks people are probably best at providing great service. Disney carefully selects park employees who are committed to being great service providers as an important expression of their personalities.

The Internet opens up a lot of other opportunities for this theme park enterprise. For example, Internet-based services can provide benefits to customers when they are not at the theme parks, eliminating the need to build ever more theme parks.

Let's imagine that the theme parks people decide that want to add customer benefits by providing more communications and faster, more individually appropriate service. How might the Internet facilitate this?

Perhaps Disney could deliver a way to preview the park experience before someone arrives. For first-time visitors, this could help with the selection of attractions to visit. For those who have been there less than 10 times, it might include mapping out how the person, family or group could spend the day while minimizing the time spent traveling to and from the desirable attractions and standing in lines.

For more experienced visitors, it might include chat groups to share ideas and experiences about entertaining and interesting things to do while standing in lines. Disney could also forecast the size of the crowds and duration of lines over the next 12 months, so that customers could select the best times to make their visits. I could go on with more examples, but you have probably come up with your own ideas by now that are even better than these examples.

Why should Disney want to do these things?

By improving the experience that people have when they come to the parks, attendance should rise. Also, this information will tend to increase attendance when the parks have the most capacity for more guests. Further, being able to plan ahead will increase the pleasure for a lot of people putting them in a better mood to spend when they do arrive.

Notice that Disney could have done all of these things prior to the Internet, by using non-electronic ways of implementing them. For example, the company could have offered a guidebook with this information, and an 800 number to call for ideas.

What the Internet does for our enterprise is to stimulate us to think about providing these services in more individualized form. The reason that implementing their solutions on the Internet seems so daunting in some cases, is because important opportunities to serve these same basic human needs better in the past have been overlooked. So your enterprise, whether new or old, is probably catching up with 50 to 100 years of missed opportunities to serve these needs in a brief period of time.

As your enterprise thinks about its opportunities, you will also tend to find things that you already should be doing. How do you go beyond that level of best practices?

A good starting point is to think about what could not have been done before, that can uniquely be provided through the Internet. For a service organization like Disney's theme parks, you can immediately see that there is an opportunity to provide a virtual theme park visit over the Internet.

Although you cannot duplicate Space Mountain and many of the thrill rides, you could create games that have a Disney "touch and feel" to them that people would want to buy and play at home. As holograms become universal, these games could become more and more realistic.

Tying into the Internet, you could make these games where you compete against other people at the same time to simulate some of the shared adventure of a theme park. In fact, you could even have some of the games interact with the people enjoying the attractions at the parks.

Half of the fun of some of these experiences is talking about them with others. You could have chat groups of people who had just finished playing the same game so they could talk about their experiences, and other chat groups for people who wanted to learn how to play the games better.

If you sold this service each year to just a few percent of the people who had ever visited a Disney theme park services, you would probably create a business that would make the theme park business's profitability small by comparison.

In pursuing the ideal best practices with the Internet, you can see now that the scarce resources will be having people in your enterprise who are good fundamental thinkers about the customer's perspective and how to devise improved ways to serve these fundamental human needs on the Internet. It will be fairly easy to find the technical people to implement any customer-driven vision, but real innovation comes in conceptualizing large numbers of desirable outcomes that can be inexpensively developed and tested to see how people react to them.

Here is the great benefit of expanding irresistible force management knowledge and using the Nth degree test within your enterprise. You will develop a large number of people with skill and experience in conceiving these ideal best practices on the Internet and in other environments and circumstances.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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