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Blue Ocean Strategy
Leaving Your Competition Far Behind

Move Into Uncontested Space
Blue Ocean Strategy, developed by W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, distinguished professors at INSEAD in France, is based upon an extensive study of 150 strategic business moves across thirty industries. These findings are found in their book "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant".

When it comes to defining what Blue Ocean Strategy is, start by picturing a vast ocean.

Near the shore, most businesses are jam-packed with contenders all offering similar products and services. As they skirmish in these close quarters, the waters grow red from their endless fighting. Profits shrink and market share is threatened in red oceans. It is an overcrowded and undesirable habitat.    

Blue oceans are the exact opposite of red oceans. They are wide open with ample space to journey in your direction of choice. There is rarely any competition  In waters, strong customer growth and success are available. Here you and your organization stop using the competition as your benchmark, and sail your way to greater value and success. When the “me too” contenders try to pursue your company, they are left far behind.



Blue Ocean Strategy defies conventional business wisdom regarding value and cost. Most red ocean companies think that there must be a tradeoff: they can either create more value for the customer at a greater cost, or they can create lesser value at a reduced cost.  It must be one or the other.

Blue ocean companies recognize there never has to be a tradeoff. Instead they navigate past the crowded shore with a refreshingly better value proposition oftentimes at a lower cost. This approach is applicable within and outside of technology.    

At heart, Blue Ocean Strategy is about navigating your organization into a blue ocean, where it can achieve rapid growth and success.

Are you prepared to create your own Blue Ocean Strategy?  eTime Solutions offers strategic business development services to its clients. Blue Ocean Strategy can create new found opportunities for your company.  If you are ready to explore the possibilities, we look forward to hearing from you. 

 

 

Brain Writing
Getting Far More from Your Idea Sessions

Brain Writing
Brainwriting allows everyone to participate.

Trying to come up with a great new idea? Perhaps you and your team are stumped by a challenge or baffled on how to next approach a new opportunity? Looking for fresh ideas on how to land more clients, cross sell into existing clients, increase profitability on existing projects or to find an answer for just about any question around your business or life?

There are times when we may get into a creative funk, mental rut or used to set habits where we only think along well trod mind paths, act in the familiar comfortable ways and miss all the other sparkling possibilities around us.   

Most of us have taken part in brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas and to come up with creative solutions to problems.  However, there are a number of drawbacks to the traditional brainstorming process.

  • Only a few ideas are tossed into the session by the more vocal contributors and the group zooms in on solutions just for those few ideas without considering the many other ideas that might have been generated.
  • Some members of the group may not speak up because they're shy or are afraid that their suggestions may be rejected.
  • Others may say nothing at all because they fear their ideas are simply too outrageous or bold.
  • People with stronger personality types may push and defend their ideas, without listening to others' suggestions.
  • The ‘conservative' people may tend to propose only safe alternatives.

While brainstorming can be effective in getting people to think laterally about a problem, how do you get past these brainstorming drawbacks?

 

Try Brainwriting

Enter the world of the brainwriting technique: an idea-generating process that enables EVERYONE in the group to participate in a comfortable and nonthreatening way. This approach can often generate far more potential solutions than traditional brainstorming.  Why?

In traditional brainstorming sessions, only one person speaks at any given time about a particular idea. By the time each individual has reflected on that particular idea and the group has finished a discussion of that one idea, most participants have edited, discarded, or simply forgotten their own ideas.

Think back on the number of times you lost track of an interesting thought while in a conversation about something else.  It is frustrating and happens all the time.

This is called ‘blocking’ and it can significantly reduce creativity and productivity in these sessions. So what to do?

Brainwriting eliminates the issues that arise during brainstorming. Here are the steps to run a fabulous brainwriting session:

  1. Seat group members at a table, with a sheet of paper in front of each person. At the top of the page, ask each of them to write down the agreed upon opportunity or challenge that is on the table. There is no need to write names on the paper: keep it intentionally anonymous. Appoint someone to time each round.

  2. Give the group three minutes to write down three ideas for how to solve it. The contributors should avoid editing their ideas or trying to perfect them. Each person should write in ‘free form.' This is a time for thinking and writing. Curb any discussion as this is distracting to the creative idea process.

  3. After three minutes, stop the first round. Ask each member to pass their paper on to the next contributor such that each receives somebody else’s paper. After spending a short time to read what is on the paper from the last contributor, it is time to start round two. Ask everyone to generate three more ideas on the new paper they have just received. They can build upon the first three ideas or think of three new possible solutions.

  4. Lather, rinse and repeat.  The moderator can decide how many rounds or desired or when the group feels that idea generation has been exhausted.  The ideas can really flow: with everyone generating 3 ideas every 3 minutes, a group of 5 people could produce up to 105 ideas in slightly more than 20 minutes.  WOW!!!

  5. When all the brainwriting rounds are finished, the facilitator collects the papers, and a designated writer puts all of the unique ideas (+ add ons) on a whiteboard for everyone to see.

  6. Then begin discussing which ideas would work best for solving the current problem as a group.  Ensure that everyone has a voice and contributes to the discussion.

Benefits of Brainwriting

Brainwriting is truly brainstorming on steroids!

  • Because there's no discussion during the initial idea-generating rounds, many ideas are produced in a fairly short amount of time.  This maximizes the possibilities for idea generation.
  • All group members, even the quieter, more reserved people have an equal chance of offering their ideas for consideration.  Remember no names are shown on the papers and anonymity may comfort some of the contributors!
  • There's more freedom to be truly creative. Participants are empowered to suggest solutions that they otherwise might have thought were too unusual or would not be well received.  Evaluation apprehension is nipped in the bud.  Thinking outside the box is definitely desirable!

  • All the ideas are captured without any of them being blocked. Personality face-offs are also eliminated during the rounds.   

  • Exchanging papers still allows group members to evaluate and build on other people's ideas, but in a much more concentrated, creative way.