Have you heard about the Blue Ocean Strategy? Defined by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne in their book of that name, the term refers to emerging markets. The very competitive market that most of us know is called the "Red Ocean", while the term "Blue Ocean" is used to describe market niches that don't exist and are thereby not yet bloodied by a cut-throat competition.  

Blue Ocean Strategy makes the point that competing in overcrowded markets is not a great way to prosper.  It shows how real opportunity comes from creating "blue ocean strategies" that cull new markets.  

Innovative thinking is the way to do it, the authors affirm, and new territories define those new opportunities.  With a Blue Ocean Strategy, leaders gain a premium: They can jump as much as a year ahead of any competition to establish their BRAND identity.  

The authors listed several examples of Blue Ocean companies to support their view and Quebec's "
Cirque du Soleil" was one of them.

After reading their ideas, I told my client - a management team - that leaders who innovate also organize around different rules than the people who do
Red Ocean thinking.  Rather than try to control market behaviour for example, fighting for short-term gains or meeting performance targets,"Blue Ocean" marketers focus on being more cooperative, flexible and creative. Then opportunities emerge.

To assure their success,
Blue Ocean leaders need an environment that promotes personal development, leadership and self-empowerment. They should install the conditions that will cause innovative thinking.  

Rather than fight for his place in the traditional circus world already in slow decline, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté reinvented the very idea of circus by producing a show so innovative it attracts its own market.   He thereby sails on "Blue Ocean" waters... and his success is still growing... New market are buying his billion-dollar-ideas.

I taught my client the basics of creativity, and spelled out the W5 - who, what, where, when, why - that is needed for innovative thinking.  

In their case, as customer service is their product, finding new clients to serve was an obvious answer I also taught them about the places where customers naturally "

I explained why Blue Ocean leaders focus their attention on 5
  1. Clarify your position - In the face of the chaos often brought about by changing markets, workers have to be in a position to adapt immediately. Strategic thinkers then, are very clear about their vision. They empower people to free their creativity to finding ideas that can actualize the organization's mission.
  2. Reinforce relationships - Strategic thinkers demonstrate the importance of new thinking to achieve new results. For example -they make sure collaborators get the creativity training they need to install the conditions that allow innovation to emerge.
  3. Encourage empowered teams - Strategic thinkers champion self-empowerment.  They raise performance expectations, encourage new learning and introduce new tools, applying them to old problems and challenges.
  4. Share information - Strategic thinkers create information-rich environments in which people are encouraged to explore the new ideas, discuss how these will impact their work, and the organization as a whole, to then understand the forces at play.  
  5. Think BIG …but over a longer term - Setting sail on "Blue Ocean" waters, strategic thinkers focus on the larger vision because new markets are created out of bold, creative and win-win-win ideas.

To get a jump on your competitors sail « Blue Ocean waters ». This requires a creatively empowered workforce. So you must invest in your
creative capital to assure your own prosperity.