New Strategy Insights

New Strategy Insights

I have always encountered the issue of coupling the balanced scorecard (BSC) and the blue ocean strategy (BOC) so that we may get the reinforced insights from their coupling. I am sharing my thoughts here on how to achieve this is a functional manner.

Strategy is knowing which direction to grow in all phases of a business. Failing this answer properly may lead to bankruptcy. Take for an example Kodak company. Its direction to continue on improving its camera made it blind to see the electronic camera as a viable substitute. At one point of time Kodak needed to change its direction. Failing to do so resulted in its phasing out. There is no constant direction in our hugely disruptive times. Taking a valid direction today may become invalid tomorrow.

I find here that the use of the BOS is hugely relevant not only in finding the initial direction; equally important to ensure this direction is still relevant. I call for using BOS in defining the direction of a business. BOS can be a great strategic thinking tool. The direction of a business is defined by the sweet spot in a blue ocean to occupy. The minute a business finds the waters of the blue ocean turning red it has to rethink its position as we from the experience of Kodak and many other examples.

BOS is used as a balancing tool in covering the activities of a business. It consists of four blocs that interfere with each other for the effect of one block will spillover to the other three. I like to draw it as a stacked Venn diagram as follows. Every activity in each circle must aim for reinforcing the selected direction. To this graph I add to each circle BOS tools. This is to ensure that whatever activity a company should do should be based on the direction that itself was defined by using BOS.

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Let us KODAK as an example. Assuming direction was based on BOS. Now the learning through training must be based on BOS. The training must be of very specific value- to serve the direction. Kodak should have asked the following questions. Does the training serve the direction? Is the training is unique to Kodak? I mean to say that each circle should seek a position that puts its activities in a blue ocean. The training studied carefully to make sure it isn’t a general one but stands out as a differentiating factor. This way Kodak could have built its muscles purposefully. Training based on BOS should also serve a niche need to improve the internal processes. For example, developing a technology to help make meeting more visual and hence improve the meeting processes and reduce wasted times. The training would need to be highly relevant and so that a very good spot in the blue ocean would make the business stronger. To develop many niche skills will make a business less prone to surprise.

Now, having Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be more meaningful if they two are developed using BOS tools. A question should be asked always- how niche is a company’s position is still in the blue ocean? This question should be asked frequently if a business is not to get drunk by its own sweet success grapes that fermented into a strong wine.

The same logic applies to other circles. For example, in measuring the success of a business and how good it is performing a business might consider developing new early indicators that no other company has. It is putting each activity that a company performs in the blue ocean.

Are these daytime dreams? May be, but for me worthy of consideration.


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Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#10
There are different ways of assuring a niche. One of them is acquisition of proper and niche-strengthening competitors . Many companies had acquisition of promising companies only to dispose them off later at loss. For example, LI bought Slideshare , but I find the latter has lost much of its readers and the levels of engagement has fallen to an appalling level. Yes, acquisition is principle is a good strategy; doing it right is a different story.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#7
Jerry, even if there are early signals most people tend to treat them as noise. It is the mindset that still adheres to previous success and turn eyes blind to new threats.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#6
It all starts with the proper mindset and thinking strategically. These are the basis of effective strategy. I therefore agree with you "The technique of BSC or BOS is not as important as the thinker that can create technique". Tools are tools if we use them correctly and wisely. here that businesses have many faces of failures and one face of success. Success emerges from failure for those businesses that are determined, persistent and have the guts to learn and move on. The "turtle" of Edison laid thousand of failing trial eggs till one was fertile enough to flower. Aren't humans the same? We generate millions of sperms only for one sperm to produce the baby of success?

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #7

Ali, When the blue ocean turns red it means there is blood in the water. Yours. the key is to notice it early on when it is just a wisp. But few if any organizations have members or employees charged with the responsibility of seeing the tiny cuts. Fewer still respond to the warnings they issue. The bigger the organization, the more this is true.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #6

I do think we have a mythic tendency when we cast our observations on the alter of success. The reality of business failure is a statistical reality and as much as 80% of new businesses do not make it past five years, and product innovation is infinitely more fraught with mortal realities. The technique of BSC or BOS is not as important as the thinker that can create technique. Thus I take conception with the grain of salt because often conception sits on the gassy foundation of mythologies. To even get to one Kodak, thousands of tiny kodaks perish and thinking of business like this reminds me of a great turtle laying so many eggs but our mythos extends to the great turtle that survived against great fundamental odds. If an organizations conceptual ability is greater than the executable ability of those that any organizations conceives for, then the foundation is gassy. If the conceptual ability is rigid then the foundation is icy, but no amount of BCS and BOC combined provides a foundation of water. We can either float into the sky with the evaporation of conception or sink like the Titanic by hitting the Icebergs of disruption, but using Bruce Lee;s dialogue - to be like water, that is a confluence of many unpredictable things, but what is predictable is that we can assume only a few can reach the heights we speak of here, and when organizations like Kodak hire what Steve Jobs called "Bozo Leadership" - no amount of models to wade off natural disruptive forces can save such an organization from evaporating, crashing or sinking in the great book of business life.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#3
I am eager to read the book as it sounds very interesting. Yes, even though the BOS doesn't mention culture by name it is crucial to have a "culture niche". Culture emerges from the interaction of individuals and the mode of their interactions. May be culture is a lagging indicator because it suddenly emerges. I believe what is possible is to have healthy interactions is the way. That is why I am so eager to read the book you highlight in your great comment Harvey Lloyd. I am sure you have your reasoning to write "This book shows how to initiate the untapped imagination of the human by side stepping the daily grind. Opening opportunity for the BOS to naturally occur". Very interesting idea here to explore.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #4

Attempting to open up future doors of success starts at the imagination of new possibilities. Come join Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee as he explores one such possibility.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #3

You bring to readers the thoughts of success, thanks. Sometimes we forget that which has made us successful in life and the BOS is one i have not heard of but found by accident in our very customercentric business. The choice to use our services is very nebulous and subjective. I would add though that in order to have BOS within your organization it is incumbent to have the right corporate culture. A culture where the team is vigilant in seeking these new strategies within services or products. A book or theory that may merge better with BOS is "The 4 disciplines of execution" https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005FLODJ8/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 This book shows how to initiate the untapped imagination of the human by side stepping the daily grind. Opening opportunity for the BOS to naturally occur. In the early days of business i carried this weight by myself. The eternal question of, "Why would someone choose my service?" burned in me daily. Installing the 4 disciplines is helping spread the answer to the burning question throughout the organization. But not without casualties. Engaging the culture in responsible outcomes always comes at a price. Great thought as always.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#1
II don't disagree with you. However; it is a different story when we couple tools so that there joint actions is greater than their sum. I believe this is the case of coupling the balanced scorecard with the Blue Ocean Strategy tools.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #1

It seems to me that the dictatorship of the balanced scorecard is fading a bit the last few years allowing creativity and instinct to play a bigger role internally in many corporations, sales ops in particular seem more keen to explore new ways of measurements without abandoning the traditional altogether that's the trend I have observed :-)

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