We never imagined the kind of impact blue ocean strategy could have across the globe. We are humbled and greatly inspired by the recent initiative of a passionate high school student from Maryland, Nicholas Benavides, who organized a county-wide Blue Ocean Competition to challenge his fellow students. Given the great success of this endeavor, plans are already in place to take it state-wide this upcoming academic year. Read our summary in the In Focus section and access the full coverage here. The interview with Nicholas can be viewed here.
Inspired by the next generation of Blue Ocean Leaders, we dedicate this issue of Global Current to Blue Ocean Leadership. Recently the concept was discussed in the webinar"From Blue Ocean Strategy to Blue Ocean Leadership," in which Renée Mauborgne, co-author of Blue Ocean Strategy, explained how leaders at all levels can unlock the unrealized talent and energy of employees and push organizations forward – rapidly and at low cost. The live webinar was the most viewed that Harvard Business Review has ever had to date. We will post the link to the recording here, once available.
If you missed the Blue Ocean Leadership article in the May issue of Harvard Business Review, you can access it here. For more information, visit our website. We have also prepared The Mind Map of Blue Ocean Leadership, which synthesizes key points of the concept and recent news from around the world.
American high school students from the state of Maryland partnered with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), the largest and oldest business career student organization in the world, to create the first annual Blue Ocean Competition.
The Howard County Blue Ocean Competition challenged students to generate a blue ocean idea they would want to bring to the market. Nicholas Benavides, a high school junior and vice president of his school's chapter of FBLA, spearheaded the initiative. The response was overwhelming. On May 31st, 29 teams presented their ideas in front of the panel of business leaders from across Howard County, Maryland. The winning ideas were a social networking app centered on spreading positivity, a bandage that effectively and painlessly removes splinters and a smart tampon with a weight and RFID sensor to prevent embarrassing accidents and toxic shock syndrome.
Given the success of this endeavor, plans are underway to take the competition statewide this upcoming academic year. We are inspired by the enthusiasm for blue ocean strategy and amazed that young people all over the world are challenging themselves to pursue blue oceans.
Congratulations to all participants of the Howard County Blue Ocean Competition.
Blue Oceans Ahead!
And the winners are...
From left to right: Mrs Kristin Taylor (competition advisor), Chaitra Banala (3rd Place), Katherine Erdman (3rd Place), Kristi Kan (1st Place), Prateek Sayyaparayu (2nd Place), Timothy Chen (2nd Place), Nicholas Benavides (competition chair & organizer)
"There is absolutely no doubt that blue ocean leadership has been an enormous benefit to us. Five years ago we initiated a multipronged operational and market-driven transformation of the Group. Faced with multiple merged organizations we used blue ocean leadership as a key component to creating a common vibrant approach to leadership to rapidly drive change. Leaders got to immediately eliminate and reduce lower value actions giving them the time to focus on re-engaging our people to make a leap in customer care and operational efficiency. It is difficult to remember how tricky things were. The statistics speak for themselves. Our employee engagement scores continue to rise dramatically with leadership scores now at 82%, which is 12% above the high global performance norm, and 84% of our employees now feeling proud to work at Suncorp. We have certainly turned things around here. For me, the relentless focus on removing blockages to people performing is one of the most powerful aspects of blue ocean leadership".
CEO Suncorp Group
The largest insurance company in Australia
and New Zealand employing over 16,000 people
Blue Ocean Leadership in the News
Blue Ocean Leadership
Harvard Business Review, May 2014, United States.
The latest Harvard Business Review article by Professors Kim & Mauborgne discusses how to release your employees' untapped talent and energy through Blue Ocean Leadership. Research suggests that only 30% of employees are committed to doing a good job and that poor leadership is a key cause for widespread employee disengagement. Blue Ocean Leadership involves a four step process that allows leaders to gain a clear understanding of just what changes are needed to bring out the best in their people, while conserving their most precious resource: time.
Innovating Leadership Development with Blue Ocean Leadership
ECSI Blog, June 23, 2014.
What are the limits of conventional executive education? The author suggests that leadership training programs focus on changing individual leadership behaviors and styles which result in unclear benefits for organizations. As a solution to this mounting problem, the author suggests the approach presented by Blue Ocean Leadership, which focuses on specific acts and activities that leaders at all levels can undertake, rather than zooming in on changing leaders' personal traits.
Country Manager of Amazon BuyVIP in Germany, Andreas von der Heydt, summarizes the main concepts of Blue Ocean Leadership and analyzes its viability as a new, value-adding leadership concept to help develop better leaders. He concludes, "The notion that every leader is serving internal customers, i.e. her team, her line managers, and her colleagues is beautiful." He adds, "Its four step implementation process is very solid by using a comprehensive grid and putting a strong emphasis on execution."
An Event That Changed the World and Fostering Compliance Leadership – Part I & II
FCPA Compliance and Ethics Blog, June 23, 2014, United States.
Blue Ocean Leadership article "could significantly modify how you, as a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) or compliance practitioner, will think about getting employees to 'apply their talent and energy to move organizations forward' in compliance and ethics," writes Thomas R. Fox, a lawyer with over 30 years of practice and adds, "I found [Blue Ocean Leadership] to be one of the most interesting and perhaps even game-changing discussions on how to be a more effective leader that I have ever read or heard about."
Urgent: Recruiting Blue Ocean Strategy Leaders to Save Growth and Engagement
Future Talents, May 12, 2014, Canada.
"The important thing today is to create new markets and innovate beyond differentiation," argues Jean-Baptiste Audrerie on the Future Talents blog. He further argues that Blue Ocean Leadership provides a new view on the actions that different levels of management need to challenge themselves with to produce new outcomes. Read the full article for deeper analysis of Blue Ocean Leadership.
The Business of Social Media, July 10, 2014, United States.
'The best and most empirically supported strategy book I have ever read is Blue Ocean Strategy,' says Lloyd Melnick, Senior Director at Hit It Rich!, Zynga's iPad and Facebook social casino app. As a self-proclaimed student and fan of blue ocean strategy, the author recommends Blue Ocean Leadership for its compelling process and underlying logic.