Gameplay are actions you can take to influence the market. Some people might call these “strategic moves” or “stratagems”.
Most of these actions are typical business activities, but some involve deception, misdirection, or even things that might be considered an abuse of power. Wardley has used a Dungeons & Dragons alignment system to help characterize each action.
From chapter 11 in the book:
...there exists many approaches that you can deployed in order to influence the map. These approaches depend upon the map and the position of pieces within it i.e. they are not universal and you have to learn when and where to use them.
From the blog:
I need to emphasise Sun Tzu's five factors in competition - purpose, climate, landscape, leadership and doctrine - however unfortunately most ignore climate & landscape (a bit like trying to use Boyd's OODA loop but ignoring the observe & orientate bit). The problem with this is that whilst the game plays can help you manipulate the landscape, if you can't see the environment then they can be downright dangerous. It's always a good idea to look where you're shooting before you fire the rifle.
- 1 User Perception
- 2 Accelerators
- 3 De-Accelerators
- 4 Dealing with Toxicity
- 5 Market
- 6 Defensive
- 7 Attacking
- 8 Ecosystem
- 9 Competitor
- 10 Positional
- 11 Poison
- 12 References
These forms are about influencing (or manipulating) the end user view of the world.
Overcoming user inertia to a change through education. There are 16 different forms of inertia and many can be overcome directly with education. Don't underestimate this.
main page: Education
Hiding a disadvantageous change by bundling the change with other needs.
main page: Bundling
Brand and Marketing
This is traditional marketing. Target a message to a specific segment of customers persuading them that your product is right for them.
main page: Branding and marketing
Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
Creating fear, uncertainty and doubt over a change in order to slow it down.
main page: Fear uncertainty and doubt
Creating Artificial Needs
Creating and elevating an artificial need through marketing and behavioural influence. Take a rock and make it a pet etc.
main page: Creating artificial needs
Create another business that seems to compete with you to present an illusion of choice. This can also be used to push other competitors down the list of alternatives, and make them less visible / relevant.
main page: Artificial competition
Confusion of Choice
Preventing users from making rational decisions by overwhelming them with choice and making things hard or impossible to compare.
main page: Confusion of Choice
Lobbying / Counterplay
Persuading Government of a favourable position.
main page: Lobbying
These enable you to accelerate the process of evolution.
Encouraging the development of competition in a market
main page: Market enablement
Government investment in a field.
main page: Industrial Policy
Encouraging competition through open source, open data, open APIs, open processes by removing barriers to adoption and encouraging a focus for competition.
main page: Open approaches
Exploiting Network Effects
Techniques which increases the marginal value of something with increased number of users.
main page: Exploiting network effects
Working with others. Sounds easy, actually it's not.
main page: Cooperation
These enable you to slow down the process of evolution
Finding a constraint and reinforcing it through supply or demand manipulation.
main page: Exploiting constraints
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)
Preventing competitors from developing a space including ring fencing a competitor.
main page: Intellectual property rights
Supply chain manipulation with a view of creating a new constraint where none existed.
main page: Creating constraints
Dealing with Toxicity
Elements of your value chain can become irrelevant over time due to evolution. It is important to deal with these situations deliberately, because they can create a toxic inertia. Part of the problem is that these bits of your value chain will seem valuable in the short term, so getting rid of them will seem like a loss. Customers, shareholders, and internal managers will resist this, and perhaps punish you or your organization for it.
These are methods for managing toxic assets
Pig in a Poke
Also known as “putting lipstick on a pig”, this is the process of creating a situation where others believe the toxic asset has long term value and disposing of it through sale before the toxicity reveals itself.
main page: Pig in a poke
Disposal of Liability
Just make a decision and get rid of it. This might mean shutting down a project, firing a team, or setting an end-of-life date for a product.
main page: Disposal of liability
Sweat and Dump
Exploiting a 3rd party to take over operating the toxic asset whilst you prepare to remove yourself.
main page: Sweat and dump
Getting rid of something that looks like an asset may anger investors, internal stakeholders, or customers, so reorganizing the work may help. Isolating the toxic bits can reduce the number of people impacted when you finally divest.
main page: Refactoring
main page: Differentiation
main page: Standards game
main page: Pricing policy
Buyer / Supplier Power
main page: Buyer supplier power
Last Man Standing
You put high prices to make demand match your production capabilities and make your competition not care about their efficiency. Then you invest all the profits in your efficiency, cut prices and observe demand surge and problems of your competitors realising that efficiency was in fact critical.
main page: Last man standing
main page: Signal distortion
main page: Harvesting
main page: Trading
Limitation of Competition
Raising Barriers to Entry
Press Release Process
Personally, I would not call it a strategic play. It is just a small tool, which requires you to do two things: * write a press release for your hypothetical problem * verify it make sense. The point is that if you can write it and it does make sense, then the market is well developed and ready for the transition to the Commodity space. However, if writing a press release is difficult, and it cannot be understood by the wider audience, then there is too much uncertainty, and the market and you are not ready for the change. You have to wait.
Center of Gravity
Playing Both Sides
Undermining Barriers to Entry
Two Factor Markets
Also known as a two-sided market.
From chapter 11 in the book:
A mechanism of bringing providers and consumers together and exploiting network effects and aggregated data.
Sensing Engines (ILC)
Also known as Innovate - Leverage - Commoditize (are there other versions of this play? Or just different names?)
From chapter 11 in the book:
A mechanism of being the first mover to industrialise a component, allowing others (the ecosystem) to build new industries upon it and then using consumption data to determine future candidates for industrialisation.
Co-opting and Intercession
Embrace and Extend
Copy all the features of your competitor, then add more, so that you become at first a compatible alternative, then eventually a preferred solution.
See also: Embrace, extend, and Extinguish
Tower and Moat
Build a tower of revenue in a space, then acquire any new companies that have adjacent, relevant features to grow that tower, simultaneously eliminating any nearby competition. This creates a moat around your business such that any customer who wants capabilities remotely like yours can only get it from you, and any competitor has a large investment to make to approach your capability.
Channel Conflict and Disintermediation
Restriction of Movement
Reinforcing Competitor Inertia
General forms of playing with the future market
Identifying and position a company to capture a future market space.
Exploiting first mover advantage especially with industrialisation to component services. First Mover and Fast Follower sound like they would be complimentary approaches, but they actually apply to different parts of the map. While Fast Follower is about whether or not to invest in genesis phase research, First Mover is focused on whether or not to invest in taking a component from product phase to utility phase.
Exploiting fast follower advantage into uncharted spaces. Let others do the expensive and uncertain research in the genesis phase, and only invest for yourself after they have identified a valuable use case. This strategy comes with some risks of of IP restrictions by earlier movers.
Weak Signal / Horizon
Use of common economic patterns to identify where and when to attack.
main page: Weak signal analysis
General forms of preventing others playing with the future market. If you can't capture then poison it.
Use of licensing to prevent future competitor moves.
Can be useful when dealing with hostile forks or when doing a hostile fork. The main goal is to use a licence that cannot be accepted by your competition because it will harm its business.
Either through talent or misdirection, encouraging false moves in a competitor. Basically insert useful idiots into someone else’s process (e.g.on a standards board) that will slow them down.
Designed to Fail
Removing potential future threats by poisoning a market space before anyone attempts to establish it.
Start your own open source project before one is started by any of your competitors. Assume it grows well initially, and then poison it slowly. Your competitors will face a tough challenge - they will be convinced that such an initiative cannot really work, and it will take a really long time (or unexpected courage) before they decide to use open.