There is a common misconception that blue ocean strategic innovation leading to new markets is always about new technologies. This is not always the case. Obviously, there are some technological innovations that lead to Blue Oceans. Cloud computing led to companies like Salesforce and Eventbrite. These companies revolutionized their respective industries. However, technology in and of itself, isn’t a pre-requisite to blue oceans.
Value innovation, not technological innovation, is the key to opening up commercial viability.
When a stellar NFL player retires from the playing field, he’s the same person. Technology isn’t involved in his new value proposition to the world. It may enhance his message but he’s required to shift his value from that of a tackle, QB, defensive end, or kicker and become something the wider world, i.e. his new non customers now need.
Need an example?
There are hundreds but check out the great work of Freddie Scott. His work post NFL didn’t require tech. It did however require his layering additional skills, relationships, work, and commitment to new audiences. He’s continued to reinvent himself and not stand pat on previous accomplishments. In today’s environment, this mindset is more important than ever.
Think of your company’s offering in the same way. Through this series, we are tackling the myths attributed to capturing new markets with blue ocean strategy. Thinking your blue ocean growth is contingent upon new tech is not always necessary thinking.
The core offering of the player prior to his NFL departure was his value on the field. To the new non customers he’s now serving, that value is of no use.
If you’re a tech company and are caught in the trap of scope creep, stop it. It’s generally an excuse not to sell what you’ve built or talk to those who you may serve as opposed to those you thought you would sell. Believe me, I know. One of my companies built a great technology and used what we didn’t have as an excuse not to sell. Big mistake. Now we’re approaching our clients where they are, via listening to them as opposed to assuming we’d solved the problem we envisioned they had. We use what we’ve built to enhance our offerings, not as an excuse not to move forward.
If you’re a newly displaced or fired worker, call BS on any mindset around your LACK of something. First, this is a once in a century type event so your dismissal has very little to do with you in 99% of the cases. Instead, focus on your current list of skills, contributions, accomplishments, and get your mind right. Begin immediately with whatever time and resources you have adding value to people who swim in the ocean you wish to occupy. Even do it for free. Offer to help others in some way. Now is not the time to ponder. Honor your intuition but do so smartly. If you’re contemplating a new venture, seek counsel, ask questions, don’t assume you know the answers.
Finally, remember companies like Chrysler were already building vehicles. They exploded a new category with the minivan. Ford was already building cars when Iacocca put a Mustang body on a Falcon chassis revolutionizing a value category with something sporty and fun. He looked across an industry and a buyer group and didn’t need new technology to build a winner.
If you’d like to discuss any topic around your current offering and the burgeoning blue oceans of new opportunities, reach out and book a zoom session. I’m practicing what I preach. This is a one hour offer where I listen, offer thoughts if you wish, and try to add value. No obligation, no strings.
Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Certified Blue Ocean Strategist, residing in and working out of Nashville, TN.