January 14, 2019

Implementing Blue Ocean Strategy

So, you are a Blue Ocean Strategy company, huh?  Where is your ERRC grid? Where is your Four Action Framework?  Where is your Strategy Canvas?  Where are your known Objections from the market, competitors, investors and even employees?  Where is your 5 Step Blue Ocean Process plan?  Where are the many questions that need to be addressed in Blue Ocean Strategy formulation? Did you even read the Blue Ocean books?

Blue Ocean Strategy development, like all strategies need strategy development, strategy communication and strategy execution.  Claiming to be a Blue Ocean company without executing on the concepts will get you nowhere.  Well, you will get eye rolls, but I am guessing that this is not what you were hoping for.

There is a structured process for implementing the Blue Ocean principles and if you do not have the discipline to follow the process you are, most likely, wasting your Blue Ocean opportunity.  Many companies try to cut corners believing that having a Blue Ocean opportunity and claiming status is sufficient for success.  If is not.  At a bare minimum, ERRC grid and Strategy Canvas development is required and using the Strategy Canvas output in your marketing message, on your website and in your sales process is what helps to ensure Blue Ocean success.

Most organizations trying to implement Blue Ocean Strategy are really line-extension products (Red Ocean) or they do not offer value innovation (a true leap in value that the buyer understands, is willing to pursue and is willing to pay for).   Innovation without value tends to be technology-driven, futuristic and does not move markets. Value innovation is different than technology innovation.  Value innovation occurs only when companies align innovation with utility, price and cost positions.  Without it, you get incremental changes, not uncontested market spaces. You need to be bold but most people want to be safe or they do not know how to be bold

Blue Ocean Strategy is hard since it often (or always) requires people to shift their mental model of reality.  It can collide with conventional wisdom.  It brings out the “voices of reason” and “devil’s advocates”.  Often Blue Ocean Strategy can collide with customer discovery.  How do you reconcile this?  Blue Ocean Strategy can take longer to get market traction, cash flow positive status and profitability because uncontested markets can be difficult to create and difficult to penetrate. A question to always ask yourself is: “Is this a rich uncontested opportunity or a barren uncontested opportunity?”  And to make sure you are taking advantage of the situation, your value proposition needs to be clear, concise and compelling.

Here are some of the tools that you will need to help you implement Blue Ocean thinking:

  • 5-Step Process of Implementing Blue Ocean
  • Understanding or Red Ocean versus Blue Ocean companies
  • ERRC Grid
  • Strategy Canvas
  • Four Action Framework
  • Value innovation
  • Three Tiers of Non-customers
  • Objections or Barriers to Implementing Blue Ocean
  • 85 Blue Ocean Questions that need to be answered
  • and many more

Here are some of the most common errors in implementing Blue Ocean concepts:

  • Not going through the process
  • Thinking technology innovation, not value innovation (solve customer problems)
  • Not being bold in your approach
  • Not understanding how difficult it is to move a market
  • Not starting with thought leadership marketing
  • Not understanding your differentiation and why it matters
  • Not having a plan to communicate your strategy to the market
  • Not thinking through obstacles that you will face implementing the Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Developing the strategy, but not communicating or implementing the details and sticking to the plan
  • Not having operational plans tie to the overall strategy
  • Not funding the strategy

Share if you agree.  Or, contact us at arbordakota@me.com to learn how to implement Blue Ocean Strategy not simply talk about it.  The former will get you uncontested markets.  The latter will not get you anywhere.  We have the tools, the expertise and the reputation to help you implement Blue Ocean principles.  Here is a quote from the authors of the Blue Ocean books:  “We’re proud to have Ted Dacko’s application of the blue ocean process featured in our book Blue Ocean Shift.   As CEO, Ted shifted HealthMedia from the red to the blue ocean, transforming the struggling company to one worth $185 million in just two years.   We wish more companies in the technology and healthcare sectors would follow this lead.  Three cheers to Ted.”… W. CHAN KIM & RENÉE MAUBORGNE

Also, read the books…”Blue Ocean Strategy” and “Blue Ocean Shift”.