You don’t have to be first to market or first to pivot. That’s a myth.

Red ocean trap four? To create a blue ocean of uncontested market space, you have to be first to market.

There are tons of reasons this is a myth but my favorite is cited in the book, Blue Ocean Strategy. Creating new oceans of uncontested market space is about being the first to link innovation to value, not about being first to the market.

Apple’s iMac is a stated example. It wasn’t the first pc. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player. Southwest Airlines wasn’t the first airline to do short hops and no frills.

In this series, you’re seeing a massively consistent theme. Value innovation. Let’s take a look at the value innovation in Blue Ocean terms.

blue ocean strategy value innovation

As you can see in the above image, if you’re a company seeking to capture new markets. It has little to do with being new or first. It involves the elimination and or reduction of cost while simultaneously raising and creating elements in the offering or service never before experienced in the industry.

This notion of being first to market is simply wrong. What has proven to be right of course, is timing. When Bill Goss shared his findings from being involved in dozens if not hundreds of startups during a TED talk, he wasn’t referring to luck. He was referring to elements that has to do with value creation. Again, the companies that linked value to innovation were the winners.

His talk is a worthy few minutes.

Cost reduction is an easy discipline in our recessionary times. You have every reason in the book and likely every necessity to reduce or eliminate cost at this time. It’s tough but just the way it is.

So how does one go about raising or creating certain elements of their offerings so value innovation increases?

You have to revisit every aspect of your organization. There are examples everywhere and it depends on the business you’re in. If you need help with a technology implementation that would cast your offering in a new light and add considerable value, let me know. I’m not asking for the work. I may know someone that could and would assist you.

If you need help with strategic assessment, client conversations, employee skills assessments prior to making a decision, let me know. We’ll talk through it.

By the way, no charge for the chats. I’m just getting to know companies across the country and not keeping score. I can afford it for a bit and I’m betting the relationships will pay off in spades months from now.

If you’re interested in chatting about any of these topics, count on me to be interested as well.

Set up a chat here. 


Sherman G. Mohr is a Nashville based Insead Certified Blue Ocean Strategist.