Summary and Analysis of of the Ted Talk by Cesar Harada

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In this ted talk, Cesar Harada speaks about 3 manmade problems that our oceans face on a daily basis; that being ocean pollution with special mention to oil, plastic and radioactivity. He created a solution to the problem as other attempts to remove ocean pollution were ineffective. His solution was a boat-like design, capable of towing a long tube behind it in order to capture the pollution (oil and plastic). However many issues arise such as the need for his creation to be able to move swiftly and be self-propelled by renewable energy.

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The implications of the problem

The problems that may arise as a result of ocean pollution are: ocean life being destroyed, food stocks being affected as well as the fisherman’s health being affected negatively. The consumers of ocean life are negatively affected too as harmful substances are absorbed or consumed by these fish etc. which are later eaten by us. With regard to his boat-like invention, the implications of ocean currents led to Cesar to needing to find a way for his creation to move through the ocean in such a way that it can collect as much oil as possible over a large surface area, taking into account that this oil is spread rapidly by these currents. Awareness created from this talk. In the talk Cesar speaks about “an ocean of dirt” and he is very accurate due to the fact that 80% of the ocean is polluted. The effort previously conducted to clean up the oil in the ocean only managed to reduce the amount of oil by 3%. “They only collected three percentof the oil on the surface” says Cesar hence why he felt the need to create something that made a greater impact. Cesar has helped create awareness on this topic through this ted talk by showing images of the oil spills throughout his talk as well as speaking about the consequences of these oil spills and plastic in our ocean.

Entrepreneurship, management and leadership

Entrepreneurship is seeing a gap in the market and taking the opportunity to create a business in order to make a profit. Cesar Harada has done exactly this as he has seen that there is an opportunity for him to create a business and make a profit as the other inventions and businesses that set out to clean up oil spills were not successful. Entrepreneurs are not afraid of failure and will not give up until they have succeeded. Cesar Harada did not give up after his invention did not work perfectly the first time; he continued to try and find ways to better the performance of his invention until it was a success. A huge part of a business being a success is owing to strong management of time as well as an effective form of organisation. In order for an entrepreneur to be successful, he/she will need to be good at planning, leading, organising and controlling. There are many differences between leadership and management, some of them being:

  1. Managers: maintains systems, focuses on structure and systems, relies on control.
  2. Leaders: develops new methods to do things, focuses on people, inspires trust.

Management and leadership work hand in hand as a manager needs to be a good leader in order to be successful Entrepreneurial skills can be taught, learnt and developed and therefore no manager can say or use an excuse that they were not born an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs will not be afraid to take risks and this is exactly what Cesar Harada has done. He did not know for sure that his invention would be a success when he first started, yet he pursued the opportunity when he saw it. Before Cesar identified the opportunity/gap in the market, he needed to understand his target market, as well as scan the external and internal environments in order for him to identify the opportunities and threats that would arise with this new business. Starting a new business can be a very difficult task but good entrepreneurs will be committed and will strive for perseverance. Cesar did exactly this after his plan did not work perfectly the first time. He thought of ways in which he could better his invention so that it could move smoothly through the waves and currents and clean up as much oil as possible. Entrepreneurs will strive for the very best and will very seldom settle for less. Entrepreneurs will often use differentiation strategies to become successful which is another thing Cesar has done. Instead of him creating a device that will do exactly what other oil spillage cleaning companies have done (clean neat lines through an ocean of dirt), he has created something a lot cheaper that can clean up more oil, over a larger area, in a shorter period of time which will ensure his business success if done properly.

Business environments

When starting a business, one must understand which environment the business will operate in as well as many other analysis’s such as : considering the different factors which may affect the business’s running, doing environmental scans, Porters 6 Forces Models, SWOT analysis’s or PESTLE analysis’s. These processes are done in order to gain knowledge on their competitors, identify threats and opportunities and how to turn the threats into opportunities and weaknesses into strengths. There are 3 different business environments which need to be known to the owner of a business in great detail in order for success to take place. These 3 environments are the Micro Environment, the Macro Environment and the Market Environment.

Micro Environment

This environment includes the 8 business functions which are all internal. A business has full control of this environment. There are different tools that can be used to analyse the micro environment. 4 of them being: An environmental scan – looks at the internal business functions. A resource-based analysis – considers the tangible and intangible resources A value chain analysis – determines what adds/eliminates value to/from the business SWOT analysis – (only S and W) identifies strengths and weaknesses of the business.

Cesar Harada would have needed to analyse the 8 business functions before starting his business as without an understanding of the internal functions of his business, it is highly unlikely that the business will be a success. These 8 business functions are: purchasing function, production function, financial function, human capital function, marketing function, public relations function, administrative function and the general management function.

Macro environment

This environment forms part of the external environment and a business has no control over it. This environment includes external factors such as competitors, legislation, politics etc. Cesar Harada would have had to take into consideration all the political, economic, ethical, social, technological, legal and environmental factors so that he could identify any possible opportunities and threats. There are a few tools that he could have used to do so such as an environmental scan or a SWOT analysis (only O and T).

Market environment

This environment includes any places where goods and services may be bought and sold. A Porter’s 6 Forces model is commonly used to analyse this environment. The business has some control over this environment as it includes their consumers/customers whom they may be able to influence in situations through advertisement, promotions etc.

The Porter’s 6 Forces Model includes: Level of rivalry, Threat of new entrants, Availability of substitute products, The power of suppliers, the Power of the buyers and the power of the complementary products. Cesar Harada could also have used an environmental scan or a SWOT analysis (O and T only) to investigate forces in the market environment. It is very important for businesses to know what their competitors are doing so that they can find an area in which their competitors are not doing well and use it as an opportunity to in gain a competitive advantage. This is exactly what Cesar Harada has done by seeing that other companies have only managed to clean up 3% of the ocean’s oil spills.

The relevance of this Ted Talk

This Ted Talk links up perfectly with what we have been studying in business studies this year as our main topic for the year was petrol stations. While we learn about the importance of fuel in today’s world, it is just as, if not more important that we learn about the damage that it is doing to our world as well as finding ways in which we can help fix and prevent the damage from occurring further. Our generation is the future of the world and therefore it is very important that we learn about the damage we are creating as well as ways to prevent the damage from getting worse. Our oceans today are so full of plastic, oil and many other forms of pollution and if we do not find ways to stop this amount from increasing, soon our oceans will be nothing but a sea of waste. In this Ted Talk, Cesar Harada stresses the point that all oil spills in our oceans along with the plastic and radioactivity are all man made problems which “should make us feel terribly awful”. If we have the power to create these huge problems then we definitely have the power to stop them from occurring further and even more importantly the power to “clean them up”.

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