Friday, January 30, 2009

I Like My Ocean Blue

I've been trying to get my hand on this book since last year but as a typical Malaysian, i m always occupied with other things that excluded 'book reading'. I just surfed the net and trying to cut out the pieces into something that i could easily understand within my 'time limit'. So, i googled and found this interview by Vivek Kaul from DNA ( with W Chan Kim, one of the authors of the book (Kim is a co-director of the Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute and The Boston Consulting Group Bruce D Henderson Chair Professor of Strategy and International Management at Insead, France, the world's second largest business school)

'Create blue oceans to make competition irrelevant'

Vivek Kaul
Monday, November 10, 2008

What is the blue ocean strategy?
Blue ocean strategy is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making competition irrelevant. In more specific terms blue ocean strategy is about a whole system alignment of the value proposition (utility minus price) by creating an offer that dramatically raises buyer utility at the right price for the mass of the market; profit proposition (price minus cost) by creating a leap in value for the company itself by making a tidy profit; and people proposition by overcoming key organisational hurdles and building execution into strategy formulation.

As for defining characteristics, a true blue ocean strategy must have three key components in order to implement and communicate your strategic move: the strategy must be focused, diverge from the competition's strategic profile, and have a compelling tagline that speaks to the market.

For example, Southwest Airlines created a blue ocean by breaking the trade-offs customers had to make between the speed of airplanes and the economy and flexibility of car transport.

How is it different from the red ocean strategy?
Red ocean strategy assumes that an industry's structural conditions are given and that firms are forced to compete within them. To sustain themselves in the marketplace, practitioners of red ocean strategy focus on building advantages over the competition, usually by assessing what competitors do and striving to do it better. Here, grabbing a bigger share of the market is seen as a zero-sum game in which one company's gain is achieved through another company's loss. Hence, competition, the supply side of the equation, becomes the defining variable of strategy. The focus is on dividing up the red ocean, where growth is increasingly limited.

Has any company moved from following the red ocean strategy to the blue ocean strategy successfully? How did they go about doing that?
In our research, we looked back over 100 years of data on blue ocean creations to see what patterns could be discerned. We found that blue oceans were created by both industry incumbents and new entrants, challenging the assumption that start-ups have natural advantages over established companies in creating new market space. In the auto industry, think of GM that created the blue ocean of emotional, stylised cars in the 1920s, or the Japanese manufacturers that created the blue ocean of small, gas efficient autos in the 70s, or again Chrysler that created the blue ocean of minivans in the 80s -- all were incumbents.

Moreover, the blue oceans created by large staid companies were usually within their core businesses. In 1984, for example, Chrysler unveiled the minivan, creating a blue ocean in the auto industry in which the company has been an established existing player.
The minivan broke the boundary between car and van, creating an entirely new type of vehicle. Smaller than the traditional van and yet more spacious than the station wagon, the minivan was exactly what the nuclear family needed to hold the entire family plus its bikes, groceries, and other necessities. And the minivan was easier to drive than a truck or van. Built on the Chrysler K car chassis, the minivan drove like a car but provided more interior room and could still fit in the family garage.

As illustrated in Chrysler's minivan that broke the market boundary between car and van, business leaders should first recognise that market boundaries exist only in managers' minds. They should look systematically across established boundaries of competition and reorder existing elements in different markets to reconstruct them into a new market space where a new level of demand is generated.

How does a company go about looking for blue oceans to compete in?
Blue ocean strategy is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. For example, NTT DoCoMo is the first company to make money out of the mobile internet. In a very competitive industry engaged in a technology race and strong price erosion, NTT DoCoMo was able to achieve superior performance when it launched its novel i-mode services in February 1999. It was an immediate and explosive success in Japan. As with NTT DoCoMo, the goal for a firm's blue ocean strategic move is the pursuit of value innovation -- a leap in value for buyers and company alike. This comes from simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost. The following questions are helpful in achieving value innovation:

- Which of the factors that the industry takes for granted should be eliminated?
- Which factors should be reduced well below the industry's standard?
- Which factors should be raised well above the industry's standard?
- Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered before?

Blue oceans, after they are created, can be replicated by other competitors in the market. How soon do you think competitors will catch up to the blue ocean strategy?
Our research has shown there have been no perpetually excellent companies, but companies can maintain excellence by adhering to excellent strategic practice. We have to remember that industries never stand still. They continuously evolve. Operations improve, markets expand, and players come and go. If a blue ocean is created, it will not last forever. Eventually the competition will imitate and catch up. As rivalry intensifies, bloody competition commences and the ocean will eventually turn red. If you stay on this course, your strategy will converge with that of the competition and you will be stuck in the competitive trap once again. Dell computer, for example, dominated the blue ocean it had created for more than a decade. The company, however, is now in the middle of a bloody red ocean, with declining performance. The key is to monitor your competitors and as their value curve converges toward yours, you should begin reaching out for another value innovation to create a new blue ocean.

Do you think companies are over-designing products these days and that is putting off users?
Many companies, particularly technology firms, do tend to continuously add small features to their products in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the competition through a continual process of "incremental innovation." Mobile telephone companies are particularly guilty of this, yet each additional "design feature" detracts value from the buyer as the phone becomes increasingly difficult to use. A study from Eindhoven University last year found that in the US nearly half of products returned by customers for refunds were in perfect working order, their owners just couldn't figure out how to use them.

Innovation without value tends to be technology-driven, market pioneering or futuristic design that may shoot beyond what buyers are ready to accept and pay for. Value without innovation tends to focus on value creation on an incremental scale that, at best, improves value but is not sufficient to stand out in the market.

Value innovation is a new way of thinking about and executing strategy that results in the creation of a blue ocean and a break from the competition. More importantly, value innovation defies one of the most commonly accepted dogmas of competition-based strategy -- the value-cost tradeoff.



So, it is a Management+Marketing concept book. Here some brief ideas that i could in put in pieces. A comparison.

Blue Ocean Strategy:

1) Create uncontested Fresh market Space
2) Make the competition irrelevant or not existence.
3) Create and capture new demand

4) Break the value/cost trade-off

5) Align the whole system of a company's activities
in pursuit of differentiation and low cost.

Red Ocean Strategy :

1) Compete in existing & crowded market space
2) Try to beat the competition
3) Exploits existing demand
4) Make the value /cost trade-off
5) Align the whole system of a company's activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost.

Which mean , the companies need to create a new kind of product or service to a new breed of customer in the market,which i think goes back to Marketing 101 : Create The Market
I didnt read the whole book yet but it does sounds familiar.

By the way ,this remind me of Air Asia .The best case study for Malaysian scenario..

No comments:

Post a Comment