Story 2 : Whiteboards — The Blue Ocean

Ambidexterity is the ability to equally write with either the right or left hand with same proficiency and in the same time. This mix of skill and talent resembles very much cannibalizing a business; for example a right-handed person is comfortable and used to functioning through his/her right hand, but if this hand gets injured it becomes inevitable to start using the left hand.

The wisdom of being ambidextrous is readily obvious; you have to have the second-hand trained early on equally as the other.

If you have already read my previous post in Part 1 of this series entitled “ To Cannibalize or not to Cannibalize That is the Question” maybe you’ve already realized that businesses facing commoditization need to set sail into new oceans, where it's full of fish again and less sharks- at least in the beginning ! This market is called the blue ocean while the latter is a bloody red ocean.

Key Highlights of the Part 1 Manifesto were :

  1. Given the commoditized nature of the current market place, cannibalization is not optional; but inevitable; innovate or die.
  2. For a cut throat market, where margins are very hard to keep and continually slashing; new lucrative markets must be sought.
  3. The classical dilemma with such proposition is usually the need to self-cannibalize or self disrupt your business model that is the basis of your current very existence !

The Good News: Interactive Whiteboards Industry is 80 % Blue

At this point the whole interactive whiteboard industry is painted with red! The good news is that only 20% of eligible consumers are red, the rest of the 80% is out there to be taken.

The uncontested marketplace composes 80% of seats, but those are highly unlikely to be occupied only by governmental tenders and Loyal B2B channel distributors pushing the product into the market, remember that it took the industry 30 years to achieve 16–20 % global penetration !

Looking for the blues is a strategic mandate for companies operating in such space and circumstances, I recall here Prof. Clayton Christensen invaluable advice for doing so, that reads as follows :

Who are those non-consumers ?

Market intelligence companies such as Futuresource Consulting has been urging interactive whiteboard players to consider corporate space for a new growth ares. Collin Messenger; a senior consultant from Futuresource once said:

Simple Comparison between both

Although a classic but worth reminding off, the major difference between a red vs blue strategy is presented below.

Strategic profile of a blue ocean market product

AS with the matter with established theorems such as the blue ocean strategy which is a strategy of causality that predict the relation of a desired cause & effect, there is a science behind creating a blue ocean product profile that is characterized by blue ocean “winning” attributes.

The profiling requires a prior knowledge about where to compete and what’s lacking in the market in terms of unmet needs.

It involves manipulation of an existing established product category, in our case the interactive whiteboard.

The process of eliminate, reduce, raise and create are applied to re-engineer the desired blue ocean product.


Conclusion

With both red and blue blood running in your veins you are more of a hybrid entity, not abruptly letting go with the past business ( what used to perfectly work, i.e the old cash cow) and simultaneously but gradually introducing the new business model.

New blood is what companies need to survive, often this terms coins “management changes” on executive levels like CEOs and/or other C-level executives, but what do board members really want ? They want “somebody” new to fix the mess! Maybe with a struck of both magic and luck the share price goes up again.

Now up to Story 3, where I will be discussing how we have put the latter theories into practice.

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