Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Red and Blue Yin-yang

This week’s reading specifically about the Blue Ocean Strategy made me realize that blue and red oceans are interdependent.  One cannot exist without the other.  If red oceans didn’t have blue oceans, there would be no advances in unknown markets and the market would remain stagnant.  If blue oceans didn’t have red oceans, competition would never exist and the market would probably ebb and flow in dramatic ways.  Both oceans create some sort of a balance between one another hence the red and blue yin-yang.

I am also curious if blue ocean strategy is better than the strategy of the five competitive forces.  We know the five forces allows for a company to better position and protect itself through knowing its industry better than before.  But in terms of innovation, can a company make significant steps whilst keeping a competitive edge?  This might depend on the industry, but I think in both strategies, innovation can be created as long as the company is adaptive and aware of the actions it takes while making incremental, not radical, steps.[1]  Where blue ocean strategy differs from the five forces is its pioneering of new markets with no competitors for which new demand and money can be invested within.  The degree of pioneering or charging into a new market does not exist in the five forces strategy.  Here's an example that may help.

Before the Sony Walkman was introduced to the world in 1979, the typical method of listening to music was either a compact cassette tape or an 8-track tape; both suggesting portability for music/entertainment purposes.  There was a favorable acceptance of this product since it was the only portable music player on the market at the time.  Since 1979, Sony has evolved this portable music player format of the Walkman to the CD player, to the mini disc player, to the MP3 player, and to the streaming of music over the course of thirty-seven years.[2]  My point is Sony was the first blue ocean in creating a vision of a world where anyone can take their music with them – which remains a significant part of life today.  Perhaps this was Sony’s core ideology but as other companies in the red ocean started to bleed into the blue, I am confident Sony’s practices and strategies were forced into a red ocean mind frame.  It seems unfair for the pioneers who make these initial discoveries who are then swallowed up or pushed aside when other companies get involved and possibly make more of a profit.  At this point, I like to think that’s the red and blue ocean yin-yang creating a balance in the market – favorable or not.    

[1] Cranfield University, School of Management. “Strategic Management Fundamentals: Five Forces vs. Blue Ocean Strategy” 26 October 2013.
[2] Franzen, Carl. "The History of the Walkman: 35 Years of Iconic Music Players."The Verge. 2014. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

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