Archive for: April, 2010

An analogy for using the Blue Ocean Strategy framework

If you’re a strategy guy, I’m sure you’re familiar with the , where you set out to create new value by not competing but rather creating and capturing new demand (new market) where you’re the only guy holding the flag.

In a nutshell, here’s what Blue Ocean Strategy proposes:

blue ocean strategy red versus blue

Sounds pretty damn good. But, the problem is it’s difficult to imagine and do. Worse yet, is it’s difficult to understand if you’re someone who’s not a CEO, strategist, consultant or marketer. To tackle this problem, I thought I’d uncover the hidden truth behind some of the key ideas of the approach.

The importance of having real-time vision


 Steve Nash dribbling the ball


We can draw many lessons from the world of sports onto business, I was watching a feature video on ESPN on Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash on a and couldn’t help but see the correlation between vision in sports and in business. In business there’s talk of the need of having a vision or a BIG idea behind and organization’s direction, but there’s also the real-time vision a leader needs to possess to make sense of things in a rapidly changing world and make a right decision.


Just like an NBA point guard is defined by how well he runs his offense and assist his teammates to a position where they have the advantage, a business leader is judged by the strategic decisions he makes to position his company so it’s business strategy gives it an advantage.


Strategy is all about making choices and in a rapid changing world the ability to see the play develop (Observe), read the defense (Orient), seeing the gap (Decide) and exploit it (Act) by making the perfect pass is of vital importance.


See a pattern there? The OODA loop.


, improvisational, rapid strategy development and . The OODA is not going to work all the time, it’s a tool to assist in learning about an environment and making decisions, it doesn’t make visions come true but it’s better that relying on a static plan of action in a dynamic world.


The lesson is: As business leaders we must develop real-time vision to strategize on the fly and create order out of chaos.


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Innovation lesson from Avatar: Learn or die

This past weekend I watched Avatar on my own screen with full attention to the dialogue and less attention to whether I was getting dizzy from the effect of the 3D glasses. In one of the scenes where Neytiri is training Jake in how to move through the jungle Jake says something that holds true for innovation: Learn or die.


We too are in the jungle, the world we live in never stops changing and we can never stop learning. The speed at which we learn has to be equal or faster than the market (jungle) we’re in and therefore keep evolving. Like the saying goes: Make change or be changed.


Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

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#Innovation posts of the week: Innovation by imitation

Inspiration has no price


Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.” – Fernando Flores


This post was inspired by an interaction I had with a fellow down in Mexico and it reminded me that inspiration really has a price down here. Damn we have so much room for breakthrough!


My approach to everything is: You’re either great or your not. Period.


I have a poster in my room that reminds me of the importance of inspiration and delivering your best everyday. I also have a poster of a person whom I think embodies greatness in his craft and that man is Michael Jordan. Yet as powerful as inspiration is, a question I have trouble digesting is: Why is it that most people/businesses put inspiration in the backseat?


Commodities = no inspiration

Does doing your best work depend on the number on the check? Are you inspired more by a bigger number than the possibility of doing something unique? If it does then you’re a commodity my friend, it’s that simple, because anybody can do what you do and the only difference between you and someone else is your first and last name.


Being great means a lot of things but it doesn’t mean that ‘numbers’ determine your overall attitude. There’s no ‘if-then’ to do your best!


Labor has a price but inspiration? Please!

Do you think Picasso’s most famous paintings came from the thought that he might make more ‘numbers’ for it? Do you think Walt Disney was thinking about how much money he was going to make when he dreamed up Disneyland? Do you think Michael Jackson put a price on his songs before he produced them?


Don’t get me wrong getting paid your worth is important but there’s a BIG difference between ‘commodity thinking’ and ‘innovative thinking’ and that’s pure motivation, passion, inspiration. You don’t need to be pushed because you’re already pushing for something better!


Inspiration in a few places. Commodities everywhere.

Just like the offline world the web is full of commodities, how do we de-commoditize it? Here are some questions that may ring a bell!


  • Why is it that most products that are pushed to us through advertising are seen as irrelevant? Oh here’s a reason: Push = commodities.
  • Why is it that only a handful of products and services get our attention and we get pulled to them like a magnet? Oh here’s a reason: Pull = great stuff.


Conclusion: We pay attention to great stuff and usually it comes charged with an emotional appeal. It provokes!


Here then lies our challenge: How do we inspire greatness? How do we get people to think passion first numbers second? How do we create great stuff that provokes?


Closing thoughts…

Wooo! I needed to get that one off my chest and if you stuck around and made it all the way down here, I thank you!

You know we probably have better things to think about than this but I think most of the problems we encounter in the biz world (and everything else) have to do with lack of passion for what one does and more focus on the numbers. We’ve been programmed to think in terms of ‘make your numbers and thou shall be rewarded’ (how inspiring!) that passion gets flushed down the toilet!


Passion can’t be fabricated, it can’t be faked, it can’t be bought because it’s not a commodity. When one is inspired by what he does it shows, you attract attention, you provoke action, you bring out the best in others and all this turns into a virtuous cycle that keeps going and going and going and…


In writing this post I wrote down some questions that I ask myself unconsciously just like when I get a stomach ache when I encounter commodity behavior, without thinking. Feel free to add your own in the comments!


  • Do you bring your best everyday no matter what?
  • Do you make an impact?
  • Do you contribute to the bigger picture not just yourself?
  • Do you change the dynamics of the situation for the better?
  • Do you make others care?


Thanks for reading 🙂


Rethink your business by what you know not what you do

I was talking with a friend business owner this weekend about growth opportunities. Our conversation took a turn when he expressed to me that it’s hard to compete when there are a lot of other businesses offering the same thing he does. Well my friend, it doesn’t have to be that way.

For the sake of being practical, we humans like to categorize everything to most simple things, rules of thumb. They work for awhile, but the problem is that sooner than later they become rules we follow and we never stop to think why we actually follow them.

#Innovation posts of the week: What if innovation was the standard