Friday, February 01, 2008

Book reviews

Since last week, few of us started to host book reviews which will happen monthly.

Simple idea - someone presents a book which he / she feels that people can learn from or discuss some important questions and have conversations around it. As a plus, it will indirectly lead for us to have a goal to read a book a month.

To initiate this, I presented Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) which is a highly interesting book. I read this last year during my AI term. The name symbolic of red ocean denoting competition in the existing market space while blue ocean is about creating an uncontested market space.

Value Innovation is the cornerstone of BOS. It is so called because instead of focusing on beating the competition, you focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space.

It also talks how Blue Ocean Strategy is about breaking the trade off between the value it offers through differentiation and cost (simple words - how can we move with both value and costs while not trading one against the other) and presents several case studies.

There has been some criticism about the book mentioning that it is a concept that is applied to already existing success stories and there are few examples of companies that have adopted it become hugely successful - also considering the catchy name and the concept which has grown popularity.

Simply put - besides all the debate we had on this, few questions that it boiled down to - What does it mean for me?

There is definitely a rationale and relevance in the presented structure, approach and framework for asking the right questions an industry or person should be asking to challenge it's strategy and ensuring that the right questions are asked continuously to be in a unique space. These are simple things which organizations fail to recognize. A lot of it might not be breakthrough concepts - but well, its well packaged as a single theory.

One of the other interesting view points brought out through the discussion was about using Blue Ocean Strategy on your own self - what is needed for a person to continuously add value in today's society - definitely worth exploring.

A highly recommended book to read.

Looking forward to the next ones - where more books will be presented on different themes.


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