Case Analysis of “The Tip of the Iceberg”
Date: March 22, 2010
In David Hutchens book, “The Tip of the Iceberg” he tells the story of the penguins and walruses coming together as a collaborative business unit for the greater good of clams. This story touches on two key components that are seen in everyday businesses. These two key components are system management, and adapting to change. The primary system described in the story was for the penguins to share their iceberg that they resided on with the walruses’ which had a plentiful supply of clams. The challenge was that the penguins had no way of catching and harvesting the clams. The walruses’ could catch and harvest the clams but were territorial with the iceberg so a Protocol was formed. The primary system was for the walruses’ to catch the clams from the penguins’ iceberg and in return the penguins will extend an all u can eat invite to the walruses. One last note, the walruses were not to eat the penguins. The system created stability for both the penguins and the walruses. The larger system that took place at the iceberg was that of systematic management of the initial success of the protocol. Everything on the iceberg was going great and everyone had a plentiful supply of clams. But then Sparky the penguin asked do we have enough clams to feed everyone who is showing up to the island? From there Juneau, a penguin “who knew numbers” said, “We could fit a hundred times as many as this – and still have space left over.” From there, their motto was, “don’t mess with success”. This was the downfall of the iceberg. Both the penguins and walruses were blinded by their success and they only saw the “tip of the iceberg”. But they soon found out like in any business a good thing doesn’t last forever. Since there was such a plentiful supply of clams the penguins and walruses were coming from everywhere to share the reward. But soon enough penguins were turning up “missing” due to the overpopulation of the...
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