Story Line: Blue Ocean Organizations and People
About three years ago, Friday Reflections covered the highlights of a book called "Blue Ocean Strategy", by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of INSEAD. The concepts and stories covered in that book are very relevant in today’s economic environment: for both organizations and individuals.
Let us ground on what the authors call Red Oceans and Blue Oceans:
“In the Red Oceans, industry boundaries (opportunities) are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here, companies (people) try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of existing demand (jobs, product sales). As the market space gets more and more crowded, the prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products (skills) become commodities, and cutthroat competition turns the red ocean bloody.
Blue Oceans, in contrast, are defined by untapped market space (new opportunities), demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth. While blue oceans are occasionally created well beyond existing industry boundaries, most are created by expanding existing industry boundaries. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant as the rules of the game are waiting to be set.
There are a few things that set apart "blue ocean" people and organizations from others. They succeed not by battling competitors, but by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space ripe for growth. Such strategic moves - termed “value innovation” - create powerful leaps in value for both, the firm (person) and its buyers (employers and customers), rendering rivals obsolete and unleashing new demand.”
There are a few common things that I have encountered in "Blue Ocean" organizations and people.
1. They constantly look for opportunities for offering their skills and products to areas beyond their current scope and boundaries and find new customers in new industries/organizations.
2. They are confident about their strengths and purpose and do not waste energy in comparison with existing competition (LEAN)
3. Their mindset is “How can I grow with what I have, or grow what I do not have?" vs. "How do I survive by eliminating what I have?”
Reflection: As we end the fifth year of Friday Reflections on the WWW, I remember my father's advice when I left home at the age of 17: “The world is too big with abundance of opportunities. If you believe in yourself, there is always room for your talents somewhere in this world.” (The world full of Blue Ocean with infinite horizons)” Looking back, it was a very good and true advice.