Blue Ocean Strategy - Chapter 3 - Six Paths to explore
This section explores 6 potential paths along which to explore to find blue oceans.
The first is to go beyond one's industry. This aligns with the Disruptive Innovation concept of focusing on the job to be done rather than product features. A romance novel and a science fiction both may be books but one may be competing against social media while the other may be competing against gaming and not against each other at all, though both belong to the publishing industry.
The second is to go beyond one's strategic group. The name is a bit confusing but it is actually about market segments. Say you have multiple segments with different needs, one need not try to compete within those segments and instead try to carve out a new segment. This to me appears a more advanced variant of innovation to attack low end customers. Clayton Christensen keeps it simple with just two parameters - ease of use and cost while Kim and Mauborgne leverage around their strategy canvas with a whole bunch of features to compete on and carve out segments.
The third is to go beyond one's chain of buyers. This is again a bit confusing because it actually refers to the channels. The idea is to explore if adding features to make it friendly to move to a different channel which can be a blue ocean. The most popular example is Dell who moved from selling via traditional channels to direct to end customer by adding online functionality to customize one's own computers.
The fourth is to look at complementary services and products. I feel this idea is a subset of Clayton Christensen's idea of modular architecture versus integrated architecture. Moving to cover complementary services and products is basically vertical integration. Consider virtual reality experiences. While companies can build great VR experiences, the biggest problem is people's access to headsets. So a company building VR experiences should consider establishing a chain of VR cafes similar to how internet browsing centers had mushroomed in the initial days of internet many owned by internet service providers.
The fifth idea is a new one. Switching from emotional appeal to functional and vice versa. This acknowledges the fact that people do pay for things they really do not want out for emotional reasons. And this emotional appeal versus functional value does not remain constant. An example I can think of is a mechanical watch. In the initial stages the appeal must have been functional as one does not have to spend on batteries. But as batteries became cheaper the appeal must have become more emotional with such watches creating the nostalgic feelings of times gone by.
The sixth idea is about looking to the future. Trying to create products and solutions to address new markets that technological or cultural trends are likely to create in the future. I am a bit skeptical about this one as it does depend on predictions and one can't be too sure about the impact of a certain trend. And lot of current companies do this more than any of the others. So it can also become a red ocean. One example I can think of the rush of all IT service companies towards Metaverse services on the assumption that the clients will want to enter Metaverse and would need services in this space.
Overall interesting way to identity opportunities and builds upon the idea of strategy curves.