Shadows cover the Rhode Island political marketplace.
The Rhode Island Saga, Post 4
Watching their comfortable surroundings erode and darken, the heroes of the Rhode Island Saga head out in search of answers and to see whether they can do something with their unique, but undefined, gifts to turn the trends around. To them, restoring the balance of cooperation and individual liberty is the obvious solution. Maybe all that’s needed is for people to be engaged in conversation and reminded of the hope and magic that permeates the kingdom.
So, they arrive at the Marketplace. They’ve been there many times with the kindly couple who raised them, but in the past it always seemed like a friendly, bustling place of adults doing grown-up things. Now the heroes can’t shake the feeling that people are behaving as if controlled by invisible forces.
In business analysis, which I’ve adapted from Michael Porter’s Five Forces analysis, the challenge at this stage is to determine what leverage various groups have with the business. In a market with a wealthy client base that has abundant options, customers will have a great deal of leverage, for example, and the business must plan around it. Similarly, if the product relies on resources that few suppliers can procure, then those suppliers will have the leverage.
Naturally, the first step in such analyses is identifying whom to include in each group, and that stage will be a little more challenging, here, because we’re translating business categories into socio-political categories. Customers are relatively straightforward to translate, as the people the heroes need to persuade — in a word, voters. Competitors are also easy to identify, as the parties and political movements opposed to the heroes’ program.
But who counts as suppliers for a movement? Who are the non-competitors, who offer alternative products? Who are the entrepreneurs who might enter the market with new variations of the service? And then how much of a challenge will each category present to the heroes?
These are big, challenging questions, so we’ll have to take them up in individual posts.