Narta delegates peer into the Blue Ocean in Maui

By James Wells in Maui

MAUI: Narta delegates adopted an original thinking concept known as Blue Ocean Strategy yesterday at their conference on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

The Blue Ocean concept was explained by author and concept creator, Gabor Burt, as a new way of approaching business marketing strategy.

Before introducing his strategy, Burt identified that a vast majority of delegates at the conference saw innovation within the top three priorities of running their business. He then argued that an innovative advantage over a competitor is only as relevant as the exclusivity of that innovation.

The premise of the Blue Ocean strategy is taking time to develop an innovative business strategy which challenges traditional concepts, which is compared to a business in a Red Ocean which is in a brutal war-like atmosphere.

Burt argued that companies in the Red Ocean environment find very few opportunities for growth as there are established rules and boundaries.

“The Blue Ocean exists outside the Red Ocean and delivers market space all to yourself. This is not to say that you are abandoning the Red Ocean, especially if you are a business with lots of tradition.

“While the Red Ocean is a lot about survival, the Blue Ocean conjures up all sorts of images in your mind such as peacefulness, playfulness or creativity from your childhood.

“It is all about pushing the boundaries and providing space all to yourself.”

Burt said that Blue Ocean thinking is being applied to new rules in business that are debunking the traditional theories of people such as former GE boss Jack Welch, who is viewed by many companies as a management guru and was voted in 1999 as the business manager of the century.

“Being bigger is best – no – being flexible is best,” Burt said.

“You must be number one or two in what you do – no – create something new. The share price is the ultimate goal – no – satisfy your customer. Be lean and mean – no – be outward thinking.”

Burt’s examples of Blue Ocean strategy included Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea that gains business from parents by creating a ‘fun park’ atmosphere inside their stores, Starbucks which is selling digital music for portable music players as well as take away coffee and an Austrian company which is selling pantyhose lined with coffee as there is a perception that coffee reduces weight.

“The traditional boundaries and rules are applying less and less. There are no permanently great industries or companies.”

 

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