My counterpart Kaitlyn, and I were driving home from a business trip yesterday and I was brainstorming about this week’s blog offering. I have to tell you – it’s easy to get writer’s block trying to think of new and creative things to blog about each week!
So I asked Kait what I should blog about and she said, “Something about red vs. blue oceans. My father and I were talking about it the other day and it’s a concept I haven’t quite grasped yet but seems really intriguing”.
I jumped onto my iPhone (in the passenger seat of course) to start my research.
Red Ocean vs. Blue Ocean is an economic strategy that I’d never formally heard of. After learning a bit about it, I realized that a Blue Ocean strategy is one of the critical drivers of continuous innovation in business.
The concept is pretty simple.
The red ocean has tons of other fishermen all fishing for the same fish.
In the blue ocean you are the only fisherman in an ocean full of fish.
Which would you rather fish in?
The answer may be easy in the hypothetical sense, but a Blue Ocean Strategy requires innovation; a new concept; a vision that’s viable. The Blue Ocean Strategy is high risk/high reward. What if you find a piece of blue ocean? Why are you alone? Is it because others have tried to fish there and fail, or did you REALLY stumble across virgin sea teeming with fish?
The great thing about a red ocean is that it’s tried and true. There are so many fishermen in your red ocean FOR A REASON – they’ve all caught a fish or two. Sometimes a fish or two each week is enough to keep a constant flow of food on your family supper table.
I think the smartest approach for MOST U.S. businesses is to keep one pole in a red ocean and one pole in a blue ocean. I’m thinking specifically about our innovative manufacturing clients. One client in particular – a custom capital equipment manufacturer- seems as though they’re having great success fishing in both oceans. They cast their pole into a blue ocean a few years ago and have become the world leader in a very specific type of industrial oven technology. They’ve obtained prestigious grants to continue their research. They’ve gained global notoriety in this niche and plan to aggressively grow this division, striking while the iron is hot.
However, the core of their business still lies with their core product offering in which they fish alongside a decent-sized competitor base. I’m sure that they would not have the funds for their blue ocean venture without the steady revenue generated in their tried and true red ocean.
I’d like to believe that TxMQ operates by a similar philosophy. Chuck – our President – is always looking out for a blue ocean opportunity, but recognizes that we have a successful core business that will drive revenue no matter what.
This is really interesting stuff! It’s a wonder I resigned from Macroeconomics 101 in college. I feel like I could blog forever on this topic! Thanks for the inspiration Kait!