From strategy to action: Examples of Blue Oceans that have revolutionised the ways we do business
In 1908, Henry Ford decided to make the automobile, at the time only available to the wealthy, a mass-market product.
In the following year, an advertisement for the Ford Model-T read ‘Watch the Ford Go By, High Priced Quality in a Low Priced Car’, heralding what would become the first car founded on the concept of mass production.
The Ford Model-T and its success are often used as an example of Blue Ocean Strategy, the strategy of attempting to acquire a market without competitors, reinventing and revolutionising an entire sector.
Over the years, there have been many examples of successful businesses linked to the use of Blue Ocean Strategy: from Toyota (pioneers of ‘Just in Time’, a product based on the demand rather than the warehouse) to Cirq du Soleil (a Canadian circus that has revolutionised the classic model thanks to its innovative performances), Blue Ocean has made the fortune for the companies that have had the courage to implement it.
However, nowadays, rather calling it Blue Ocean Strategy it would perhaps be more accurate to call it Blue Ocean attitude. The advent of digitization, which has driven the IT and technological revolution for twenty years now, has also given rise to the entrepreneurial class the need to always question their business, transforming the classic managerial approach from static to dynamic.
This dynamism, which today were are used to (just think how in a matter of months the information and telephone sectors can be revolutionised) but in the past was far from obvious, is emulated by the great entrepreneurial icons of today such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jezz Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.
What these great entrepreneurs have in common is their Blue Ocean attitude: establishing themselves from the competition and reinventing the sectors in which they operate, sometimes starting a war of innovation (such as Apple releasing the first smartphone) that can’t be anything but good for the entire market in terms of growth.
Among the other examples of Blue Ocean, there’s Elon Musk, the perfect representation of an entrepreneur has built his Blue Ocean strategy to the point of having business ideas entirely focused on the concept. Just think of Paypal, Musk being co-founder, which revolutionised the electronic payment market and satisfying an essential need for the majority of users, namely, security.
In the same strain of thought, Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook: other social media were already available online, but Zuckerberg, rather than competing with their format created his own, simply and open to everyone, that opened for him the doors of success.
Indeed, to this day, success is not led by business strategy as much as business philosophy.
Blue Ocean ‘thinking’ has been the key for successful startups and businesses, above all in the digital economy era and the Silicon Valley model. Non-competition and the upheaval of current business models are the keys to winning the market and driving innovation. We just have to wait for more examples of blue ocean and to discover which sector will be the next to be rethought and revolutionized, in the wake of what has become a race to revolution and digitization of all (or almost) the market sectors.
Francesco Di Carlo