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Business Change Management

Business Change Management

How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 4

On Dec 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, On the Brink

Ok, so maybe you have realized that your current business strategy has left you struggling to find growth markets. Your game plan has been to shrink costs, find cheaper manufacturers and outsource back office duties. Margins are hanging in there but revenue growth is still slow, maybe stalled. Are you "on the brink?"

In my book, "On The Brink: A Fresh Lens To Take Your Business To New Heights," I describe seven companies that were literally "on the brink." While they were not failing, neither were they soaring. For each of them, it was time to step out of their stagnant environment and find new marketsto literally see the new opportunities that were all around them.

They needed to find a "Blue Ocean Strategy®." Once they did, they were able to discover new markets full of customers who had big unmet needs and where they could add value in innovative ways.

I have written a series of three blogs about the steps we follow with clients to help them accomplish these two vital strategies: open new market space and find unmet needs. Now it is time for Step 4. You can refer back to the others or keep moving forward. And the way forward is really "all around you."

Steps 1, 2 and 3 set the stage. Now it is time to turn those observations into innovations: Step 4

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How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 3

On Nov 30, 2016 6:10:07 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy

We recently completed our 300th workshop on “Change Matters: How to Find New Market Space.” These workshops are essentially about how to craft the right growth strategy for your organization at a particular time in its development. One of the major themes we discuss is Blue Ocean Strategy® (BOS), a revolutionary approach to business growth that offers a fresh way to open new market space.

We are Blue Ocean Strategists and have found that while other strategies can be very useful ways to tackle stable markets, BOS is invaluable for the rapidly changing business environments facing companies today. By using the proven methods of Blue Ocean Strategy, we help companies achieve three major strategic goals:

  1. Open new market space—to capture nonusers and unmet needs
  2. Become a value innovatorno longer just an incrementalist
  3. Make the competition irrelevant—rather than trying to out-do it

In previous blogs I described the first two steps in crafting your own Blue Ocean Strategy:

Next step: Be the solution your customers are looking for

Today I want to discuss Step 3, namely, how to put your nonusers and their unmet needs together into a potentially powerful new market strategyBlue Ocean-style.

The goal: For you to learn how to open a new market space, adapt to changing times and add value in innovative ways. For example, the situation that is causing you to tell customers "We don't do that" may be exactly what you need to start doing! When you push into new markets, often those new opportunities are right there waiting for you. 

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How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 2

On Oct 25, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy

Need to change? Maybe you need a Blue Ocean Strategy.

In my previous blog in this series, "How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 1," I explained how Blue Ocean Strategy teaches business leaders to go where the profits and growth are and the competition isn’tto literally make the competition irrelevant. Using this revolutionary way of approaching business growth, companies can successfully adapt to changing times by reconstructing the market space, creating demand (not just responding to it), and devising value innovation (not just adding value in an existing industry solution). 

Now you're ready for the next step: how to go visual exploring.

What is visual exploring and how will it benefit me?

Visual exploration is at the core of Blue Ocean thinking (and right up my alley as a corporate anthropologist). What we “see and feel” helps us better “think” about the problems to be solved and the ways to understand what we are really doing. Words are fine but if you see something or hear somebody talking about a problem they're having, your brain is then freed up to say, “Aha, this might be an opportunity for us!”

There are many ways to go exploring. But let me begin with a strong caveat: One of the key rules of Blue Ocean Strategic thinking is “never outsource your eyes.” What I mean by that is, don't let someone else do your discovery work for you. Get out of your office and go searching for new ideas yourself.

So, how do you do it? Here are 5 guidelines to help you structure your efforts:

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How To Find Your Blue Ocean Strategy®: Step 1

On Sep 26, 2016 3:03:23 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy

The phenomenally successful book, "Blue Ocean Strategy" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, powerfully teaches business leaders of all stripes how to "go where the profits and growth are and the competition isn’t."

As a trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy® who has been working with clients for years on how to find their "Blue Ocean," I have increasingly become aware that the one chapter really missing from the book is a “How to” chapter. This, then, is a blog-size version of what I feel that chapter should be, with the goal of helping you find your own “Blue Ocean.”

First things first: what the heck is a Blue Ocean Strategy?

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Why Are Graduates Not Getting Good Jobs and What Are Colleges Doing About It?

On Jul 27, 2016 5:10:20 PM

/ Andrew Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, Higher Education

Last month my wife, Andrea (Andi) Simon, was a keynote speaker at the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) annual meeting. The Alliance is made up of 15 independent Michigan colleges, and if put together as a singular entity, these colleges would be the third largest post-secondary institution in Michigan, just behind the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Consequently, they have a significant impact on the students they serve!

Taking place over several days, the conference had representatives from approximately 100 corporations in attendance, including the large automotive companies. Andi was the keynote speaker at one of the dinner meetings, and her lecture included an in-depth introduction to Blue Ocean Strategy,® which is the focal point of her newly released book, “On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights.”

Two days later, Andi led a MCA roundtable on Blue Ocean Strategy, examining the need to make colleges more relevant in today’s economy. With that in mind, I would like to talk about this topic in this blog. We are often asked "How can Blue Ocean Strategies help colleges and universities quickly adapt to these fast changing times?" It can if academic insitutions stop saying "oh, we don't do that."

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U.S. Talent Gap Needs A Blue Ocean Strategy®

On Jul 19, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, On the Brink, Higher Education


6 reasons why the time is now for a Blue Ocean Strategy for Liberal Arts Colleges?

Several important facts surfaced at a recent Blue Ocean Strategy® workshop which we at SAMC led with Michigan industry leaders and independent colleges, hosted by the Michigan College Alliance. There were 6 big ones that were most unsettling:

  1. There is a HUGE problem in the U.S. — a MAJOR TALENT GAP.

  2. As US. News and World Report states: “Employers are looking to hire people with more advanced skills, especially in STEM fields, but job seekers are often struggling to figure out which skills they need and where they can learn them.”

  3. And 500,000 of those unfilled jobs are in IT.

  4. What’s more, we need these people now. All across America, we are running out of skilled workers to fill the 5.8 million jobs that are waiting for them. Take a look:

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Is A Really Big Idea In Plain Sight? Ask Trey Williams!

On Jul 14, 2016 11:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Blue Ocean Strategy, On the Brink



At the Forum for Healthcare Strategists in May 2016, I had the pleasure of hearing Jeremy Gutsche speak about how you — literally everyone — could become a better “hunter” capable of seeing new possibilities right before you. This reminded me of the quote by John Seely Brown: “The way forward is all around you.” This kind of thinking is also at the core of the Blue Ocean Strategy® method that we work with. 

Are big ideas really right in front of you in plain sight?

At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), so much of our work focuses on this same topic, that of "seeing with fresh eyes." Gutsche’s ideas were a powerful reminder that it is hard work shifting people from doing what they have always done to doing it better, smarter, different. "More of the same but cheaper" isn’t enough to sustain the growth of any business, yours included.

One story along these lines that is very much worth sharing is that of Trey Williams, an entrepreneur and restauranteur from Baton Rouge, who saw things that were right before him and then turned these "aha" moments into big ideas with huge results.

During the healthcare forum, I had a great dinner with Trey whom I had met the week before when I was in Louisiana. I wanted to learn more about how he went from being a successful commercial real estate broker to one of the most successful restaurant owners in his region — selling charcuterie (of all things) to folks in Louisiana, most of whom couldn’t even pronounce the word! They love pork but charcuterie?! And how and why did he switch careers?

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Time for a Blue Ocean Strategy® for Companies in the Oil and Gas Industry?

On May 16, 2016 3:41:38 PM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Culture Change, Blue Ocean Strategy

This is not a blog about large global companies coping with the $40 a barrel price for oil. Hopefully, they understand Blue Ocean Strategy® thinking and are putting it into practice, or they are just sitting it out until prices recover.

No, this is about all those companies that support the conglomerates. They too are trying to figure out how to thrive in a market that has experienced not just a decline but a veritable crash of unexpected and dramatic proportions.

These are the small, mid-market companies that erect scaffolding, install piping, build living space on riggings, manufacture seals and gaskets, and manage data analysis. And these days, they are often run by the company CEOs sitting in my lectures on "Change Matters: How to Find New Market Space" or on Blue Ocean Strategy. 

For them, as I have been hearing so loudly, they have to find ways to stay in business and grow again, not just shrink and hope. What can they really do? 

Maybe it is a great time to go exploring? For their business to thrive!

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To Capture Men, Healthcare Systems Need A Blue Ocean Strategy®

On May 5, 2016 10:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Healthcare, Andrea Simon, Blue Ocean Strategy


Daily, there is talk about how our healthcare system continues to be consolidating throughout America. Yet to me, it looks and feels like more of the same but bigger.

In reality, the healthcare sector is more than ready for some creativity and innovation in order to adapt to the enormous changes taking place in the industry, not merely "bigger." Could Blue Ocean Strategy® (BOS) be the way to transform the consolidation of healthcare systems so that they actually work? (More on Blue Ocean Strategy here.)

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10 Great Blue Ocean Strategy® Blogs

On May 3, 2016 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

Categories: Andrea Simon, Change Management, Blue Ocean Strategy

As Blue Ocean Strategists, we love to read blogs posted by other BOS strategists about what they are finding. Here are some of the most-shared blog posts for you to browse (along with a couple of ours). I also added a video so you can learn about BOS in a visual way and think about it in new ways.

Maybe now is the right time to try a Blue Ocean Strategy process for your business? Without a doubt, it's the best way to respond to these changing times in a systematic way.

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