Updated: Jan 21, 2020
The Blue Ocean Strategy of Kim & Mauborgne is one of the approaches I described in my previous blog post, "The 3 Most Promising Innovation Methods". For companies, the value of an innovation method lies in its impact on the business. They want to see successes in terms of new products and services, business growth, rising profits, and furthermore. The results created with the innovation method should be worth the efforts and exceed previous achievements. In other words, it has to pay off at a certain point in the future.
As mentioned before, the Blue Ocean Strategy intends to let companies escape from intense competition in existing markets. It focuses on "value innovation "and creates new markets or redefines existing ones. A matrix named "strategy canvas "is at the core of this approach. It visualizes vital elements and their relevance in market situations. This tool supports analysis and innovation activities through the entire process from an existing market situation to a future market scenario the company would like to create.
How can you get the most out of Blue Ocean Strategy? Before you start with this approach in practice, you may consider these recommendations:
It is essential to define the goals and the scope: This may vary from a company-wide initiative to disrupt an entire industry in a particular timeframe to a limited pilot project in a small business unit. The goals provide a direction and focus to the efforts of the people involved while the scope also sets boundaries. Furthermore, they provide a basis to measure or judge both progress and success.
Create a team of individuals you would like to work with. Select the team members carefully. Think about their skills, mindsets, and the contributions you can expect from them. The combined expertise of the team members should cover all significant activities of the organization. It has to include in-depth knowledge of all markets the company is addresses currently. Further knowledge about mega-trends in society and advanced technology is advantageous.
Everybody in this team should be curious about the future and motivated to launch something new. Needless to say that all members have to be able to create ideas and discuss proposals, and treat others with different opinions fairly and respectfully. The team should have a diverse and multidisciplinary character with the ability to bridge the fields of theory and practice – turning ideas into innovations. At the same time, these persons have to be ready and willing to question and challenge everything the company has done before. These challenging and questioning might also include the goals and scope mentioned above. It must happen positively and constructively, which allows clarifications, creates ideas and insights, and produces results that lead the team and the organization closer to its goals. When it comes to innovation, never underestimate the importance of people's mindset.
While considering the systematics of Blue Ocean Strategy as not to complex, team members need training regarding the method and the tools so that they can use them effectively and efficiently. Of course, they should know how to achieve results with this concept and always be aware of its limits.
There are some conditions regarding the environment and infrastructure that can influence the team and its performance. In an ideal scenario, people should dedicate all their expertise full time to this type of initiative or project to get the results as early as possible. Of course, this seems unrealistic in many organizations. But the team members need clarity about their roles inside and outside the innovation initiative or project. Any conflict in goals and responsibilities or subjects such as workload, working time, and payment will harm people's performance.
Both the working environment and the infrastructure have to support team collaboration. If possible, the team should be allowed to choose an appropriate working space. This subject very much depends on the type of business, your organization, and your industry.
What all teams in all industries using Blue Ocean Strategy have in common is their need for information. During the analysis of existing market situations, creative sessions, and discussions about possible future scenarios, easy access to information is crucial. The information flow should fuel the innovation process and not slow it down. Therefore the teams need modern computers and mobile devices they like to work with, useful software and hardware tools that cover the range of tasks that occur in reality, and fast internal networks as well as quick internet access. Frustrations due to insufficient software tools and slow data networks can have substantial negative impacts on the performance of teams.
In the case of the "strategy canvas," which is a vital element of the Blue Ocean Strategy, you can use an app for mobile devices or work traditionally on paper or canvas. It depends on how the team can work the best, how you can store the results, and support local and global collaboration with people inside and outside your organization. In the digital age, it is also worth considering what signal working with traditional means like paper and pencil or mobile devices with apps sends to other people.
Furthermore, the team should have a budget, particularly when experiments and prototypes or specific development activities become necessary. The budget should be reasonable. Flooding an initiative or project with money can have unintended side effects.
Innovation activities contain risks, and their outcomes can be disappointing. Fairly treat people, show respect for their efforts, and reward them for their successes.
As Blue Ocean Strategy is a powerful approach, it depends very much on you whether you achieve the results you would like to see. The method itself is not too complicated and should be applicable in many situations. There is a lot you can do to get the most out of it:
Define clear goals and scope for your activities.Create a team of people with the needed skills and the right mindsets for innovation. Always be aware that innovation means change.Provide a supportive environment and infrastructure where people find everything they need for work and really would like to turn ideas into innovations.Provide a reasonable budget.Keep people motivated by treating them fairly, respecting their efforts, and rewarding their successes.
What are your experiences with innovation and innovation methods in particular?
Get in touch with me today to discuss your needs and desires and find out how I can help you and your organization to reach growth, profit, and success through technology innovation. Schedule Your Free Discovery Call Now.
Sources and recommended reading
Blue Ocean Strategy & Blue Ocean Shift. Retrieved from https://www.blueoceanstrategy.com
Kim, W. Chan, & Mauborgne, Renée. (2015). Blue ocean strategy: How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant (Expanded ed.). Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/blue-ocean-strategy-expanded-edition/id945769529?mt=11
Thiebus, Sven (2018, October 22). The 3 Most Promising Innovation Methods [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://buero-zueri.ch/blog/the-3-most-promising-innovation-methods
This article was initially published on www.buero-zueri.ch.