Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blue Ocean Strategy


Companies have long engaged in head-to-head competition in search of sustainable, profitable growth. They have long fought for competitive advantage, battled over market share, and struggled for differentiation. These often lead to intense price wars, slow growth and low profitability.
So, can we break this rather pessimistic ending? In the academic world, the answer is yes.  Many business theorists offer mental frameworks to reinvent businesses. However, most of them are still at an experimental stage and they offer very little practical use.
Fortunately, a book titled “Blue Ocean Strategy” provides practical tools and methods for business practitioners to reinvent their businesses. These tools and methods are based on more than 15 years of research on more than 20 companies across different industries in Europe, Asia and America. The focus of these tools and methods are:  searching, formulating, evaluating and executing blue ocean strategies. Details are given in a mind map at the end of this post.

Monday, February 7, 2011



Have you ever had an experience such as this? You believe in a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, and your community. You present it and hoping to garner some enthusiastic support. Instead, you get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets. Before you know what’s hitting you, you idea is dead and shot down. Personally, I have lots of such experiences, from presenting a business pitch in a room full of venture capitalists to guessing to add a new position for a department. People can always come up with questions which I can neverprepare myself for. This would put me in a vulnerable position, because I cannot provide perfect answers for those unexpected questions.  Before I know it, more and more people start to jump in and question the idea. At the end, my idea is dead.
In a book titled “Buy*In” offers a systematic method to handle these tough questions when you presents your new ideas or proposals. This book is written by John P. Kotter (a professor inleadership and change management at Harvard Business School) and Lorne A. Whitehead (a leader of education innovation at the University of British Columbia). They put years of real life experiences  in corporations and combine  complicated theories to create the method. Don’t worry though. The goal of this book is to provide practical tools for business practitioners, and not to pose an academic argument. Therefore, this book is written in very plain and simple English. They also use a lot of storytelling methods to demonstrate how their method works in real life settings.