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Case Studies by Michael Olenick

11 case studies

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Abstract:
The Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), the Private University of Bolivia, was founded in 1993. Not long after, in the late 1990s, civil unrest erupted with coca growers battling police in the streets outside the campus. Students and faculty fled, the prior President retired, and UPB was functionally insolvent. Manuel Olave was hired as Rector (President) in 1999 to salvage the struggling school. Charged with turning around the struggling university, Olave realized that head-on competition would not help UPB thrive. Instead of benchmarking against leading universities, Olave formed a team to explore growth opportunities, using blue ocean methodologies like the Buyer Utility Map, Strategy Canvas, and ERRC Grid. Based on insights from the blue ocean shift process, UPB made a series of strategic moves to capture untapped demand for higher education that was more affordable and of higher value for students. Two decades later, UPB is ranked the best private university in Bolivia, enrollment is at capacity, and the school is planning a third campus.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• To explore a real world example of how a struggling education institution can turn around based on the blue ocean shift process. • To learn how a noncustomer analysis can help an organization uncover hidden pain points and create new demand. • To understand how a blue ocean leader can galvanize support and build confidence through the blue ocean shift process.

Keywords:
Education, University, Business School, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Value Innovation, Turnaround, Bolivia, Universidad Privada Boliviana, Upb Bolivia, Evo Morales, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Latin America, Non Profit

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Abstract:
The Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), the Private University of Bolivia, was founded in 1993. Not long after, in the late 1990s, civil unrest erupted with coca growers battling police in the streets outside the campus. Students and faculty fled, the prior President retired, and UPB was functionally insolvent. Manuel Olave was hired as Rector (President) in 1999 to salvage the struggling school. Charged with turning around the struggling university, Olave realized that head-on competition would not help UPB thrive. Instead of benchmarking against leading universities, Olave formed a team to explore growth opportunities, using blue ocean methodologies like the Buyer Utility Map, Strategy Canvas, and ERRC Grid. Based on insights from the blue ocean shift process, UPB made a series of strategic moves to capture untapped demand for higher education that was more affordable and of higher value for students. Two decades later, UPB is ranked the best private university in Bolivia, enrollment is at capacity, and the school is planning a third campus.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• To explore a real world example of how a struggling education institution can turn around based on the blue ocean shift process. • To learn how a noncustomer analysis can help an organization uncover hidden pain points and create new demand. • To understand how a blue ocean leader can galvanize support and build confidence through the blue ocean shift process.

Keywords:
Education, University, Business School, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Value Innovation, Turnaround, Bolivia, Universidad Privada Boliviana, Upb Bolivia, Evo Morales, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Latin America, Non Profit

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published: 30 Jul 2018

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Automobiles and other motor vehicles
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google, has ordered 82,000 self-driving cars for delivery through 2020. Cruise Automation, from General Motors, is perfecting their own fleet. Countless companies are driving full-throttle into the future. This case explores whether self-driving cars (autonomous vehicles or AVs) are a red ocean or blue ocean opportunity, and explains the difference between technological innovation and value innovation. It will prompt students to think about disruptive innovation and nondisruptive market creation, and why inventors of major technological innovations throughout history have often failed to meaningfully monetize their inventions.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case has proved to be well suited to a discussion of any or all of the following topics: 1. Value innovation (Blue Ocean Strategy, Six-Paths Framework, Kim & Mauborgne’s ERRC framework, Kim & Mauborgne’s Strategy Canvas); 2. Technology innovation, disruptive innovation (How do firms respond to new technology?) 3. Fundamentals of industry change

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Disruptive Innovation, Nondisruptive Innovation, Self-Driving Cars, Autonomous Vehicles, Waymo, Uber, Invention, Darpa Grand Challenge, Bmw, Automation, Job Loss, Automobile Insurance, Taxi Services

published: 26 Jan 2018

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Motion Picture &Television
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean explains one of the greatest turnarounds in modern business history. This case comes with a two-part video interview with CEO Peter Cuneo who launched a Blue Ocean. Founded in 1939, Marvel Comics initially struggled in a red ocean producing primarily me-to knock-off comic books. In the early 1960’s the business took a blue ocean turn by focusing on noncustomer college students. Marvel invented characters that were people first and superheroes second: Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men. The business thrived. By the 1980’s value extractors took over Marvel, badly misaligning value, profit, and people. In late 1996 Marvel filed for bankruptcy, a victim of red ocean management practices. New management purchased the business out of bankruptcy in 1998 but faced a daunting task: Marvel owed $30 million in annual interest payments on a $250 million loan, cash was so tight that they almost missed payroll, and movie rights for many of their best characters were licensed to others. First managers stabilized the business then Marvel created a new type of blue ocean that went on to produce the most profitable movie franchise in history. Just over a decade after exiting bankruptcy a debt-free Marvel sold itself to Disney for $4.2 billion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Learn how to use Blue Ocean Strategy to pivot from a red to a blue ocean. Teach the importance of aligning value, profits and people. Explain the difference between value extraction and value innovation, and the financial and ethical ramifications of each.

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Marvel, Motion Pictures, Movies, Ip-Based Finance, Bankruptcy, Ethics, Disney

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published: 25 Jun 2018

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Grocery stores
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Customers are gaga for Wawa, the restaurant / convienence store / gas station that inspires people to tattoo the firm’s logo. Founded in 1803, the company morphed over time from an iron foundry to a textile mill, to a dairy farm, dairy delivery business, grocery store, then convienence store. Dark clouds descended with the 2008 financial crisis. As competitiors converged on Wawa, management recognized the need for a new direction. After the CEO asked his executives to review a selection of business books, they chose Blue Ocean Strategy to redefine industry boundaries, shifting away from the red ocean of competition to a blue ocean of differentiation and low cost. By 2017 Wawa was the 34th largest private company in the US, with 625 million customers and sales of $10.5 billion. It serves 222 million cups of coffee a year and 105 million hoagie sandwiches. Where the average 7-Eleven convienence store grosses $30,000-$35,000 per week, Wawa averages $116,000. It used Blue Ocean Shift to achieve breakout success and thrive for a decade after its strategic pivot.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• Blue Ocean businesses can be created and thrive in markets thought to be hopelessly red ocean, including retail, gas stations and restaurants. • The methodical use of the Blue Ocean process and tools provides structure to break out of the red ocean and are more effective than an ad hoc approach. • When a company creates a Blue Ocean and effectively aligns its value, profit and people propositions, it typically takes years for credible challengers to emerge. Since its Blue Ocean shift, Wawa has enjoyed a decade of strong profitable growth, rolling out its new offering across its 800 stores. • All Blue Oceans eventually turn red. In the long term, success requires reaching for new Blue Oceans as existing ones are eventually invaded by challengers.

Keywords:
Retail, Gas Station, Convenience Store, Grocery Store, Restaurant, Quick Serve Restaurant, Fast Casual Restaurant, Wawa, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Mcdonald’s, Panera, Chipotle

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published: 02 May 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Nintendo languished in last place during the console wars of the early 2000s, with game industry analysts suggesting that the Kyoto-based firm exit the gaming console market altogether. Instead, Nintendo used Blue Ocean Strategy to redefine market boundaries, creating the best-selling videogame console ever, the Nintendo Wii. Targeting noncustomers, the Wii outsold Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox combined, until the market was disrupted by smartphones and tablets. Mobile technology targeted the same noncustomers, offering easy-to-understand games and controls, and Wii sales suffered. Nintendo initially responded by introducing a tablet-like console, the Wii U, a poor copy of the tablet experience that was a dismal failure. Stepping back, Nintendo again used Blue Ocean Strategy to “value innovate” with the Nintendo Switch, the only console to outpace the Wii in sales, and by moving into adjacent markets, working with businesses in which it held a minority stake to release the wildly popular Pokémon Go and other mobile games.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• Explore how strategy can be used to shape industry structure and market space, and the importance of linking technology to value. • Understand that businesses go through ups and downs, and that in an up-phase continually value innovating is as important as in a down-phase. • The importance of long-term growth, balancing and planning a product portfolio for the right balance between earnings and growth. This case uses Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne’s Pioneer-Migrator-Settler Map to map Nintendo’s product portfolio over time and explain its performance.

Keywords:
Nintendo, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Go, Mobile Games, Playstation, Xbox, Market Creating Strategy, Videogame Consoles, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Augmented Reality, Value Innovation, Disruption

published: 24 Mar 2016

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Motion Picture &Television
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean explains one of the greatest turnarounds in modern business history. This case comes with a two-part video interview with CEO Peter Cuneo who launched a Blue Ocean. Founded in 1939, Marvel Comics initially struggled in a red ocean producing primarily me-to knock-off comic books. In the early 1960’s the business took a blue ocean turn by focusing on noncustomer college students. Marvel invented characters that were people first and superheroes second: Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men. The business thrived. By the 1980’s value extractors took over Marvel, badly misaligning value, profit, and people. In late 1996 Marvel filed for bankruptcy, a victim of red ocean management practices. New management purchased the business out of bankruptcy in 1998 but faced a daunting task: Marvel owed $30 million in annual interest payments on a $250 million loan, cash was so tight that they almost missed payroll, and movie rights for many of their best characters were licensed to others. First managers stabilized the business then Marvel created a new type of blue ocean that went on to produce the most profitable movie franchise in history. Just over a decade after exiting bankruptcy a debt-free Marvel sold itself to Disney for $4.2 billion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Learn how to use Blue Ocean Strategy to pivot from a red to a blue ocean. Teach the importance of aligning value, profits and people. Explain the difference between value extraction and value innovation, and the financial and ethical ramifications of each.

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Marvel, Motion Pictures, Movies, Ip-Based Finance, Bankruptcy, Ethics, Disney

Related:

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), the Private University of Bolivia, was founded in 1993. Not long after, in the late 1990s, civil unrest erupted with coca growers battling police in the streets outside the campus. Students and faculty fled, the prior President retired, and UPB was functionally insolvent. Manuel Olave was hired as Rector (President) in 1999 to salvage the struggling school. Charged with turning around the struggling university, Olave realized that head-on competition would not help UPB thrive. Instead of benchmarking against leading universities, Olave formed a team to explore growth opportunities, using blue ocean methodologies like the Buyer Utility Map, Strategy Canvas, and ERRC Grid. Based on insights from the blue ocean shift process, UPB made a series of strategic moves to capture untapped demand for higher education that was more affordable and of higher value for students. Two decades later, UPB is ranked the best private university in Bolivia, enrollment is at capacity, and the school is planning a third campus.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• To explore a real world example of how a struggling education institution can turn around based on the blue ocean shift process. • To learn how a noncustomer analysis can help an organization uncover hidden pain points and create new demand. • To understand how a blue ocean leader can galvanize support and build confidence through the blue ocean shift process.

Keywords:
Education, University, Business School, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Value Innovation, Turnaround, Bolivia, Universidad Privada Boliviana, Upb Bolivia, Evo Morales, Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Latin America, Non Profit

Related:

published: 22 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: North America

Show details ...

Abstract:
Customers are gaga for Wawa, the restaurant / convienence store / gas station that inspires people to tattoo the firm’s logo. Founded in 1803, the company morphed over time from an iron foundry to a textile mill, to a dairy farm, dairy delivery business, grocery store, then convienence store. Dark clouds descended with the 2008 financial crisis. As competitiors converged on Wawa, management recognized the need for a new direction. After the CEO asked his executives to review a selection of business books, they chose Blue Ocean Strategy to redefine industry boundaries, shifting away from the red ocean of competition to a blue ocean of differentiation and low cost. By 2017 Wawa was the 34th largest private company in the US, with 625 million customers and sales of $10.5 billion. It serves 222 million cups of coffee a year and 105 million hoagie sandwiches. Where the average 7-Eleven convienence store grosses $30,000-$35,000 per week, Wawa averages $116,000. It used Blue Ocean Shift to achieve breakout success and thrive for a decade after its strategic pivot.

Pedagogical Objectives:
• Blue Ocean businesses can be created and thrive in markets thought to be hopelessly red ocean, including retail, gas stations and restaurants. • The methodical use of the Blue Ocean process and tools provides structure to break out of the red ocean and are more effective than an ad hoc approach. • When a company creates a Blue Ocean and effectively aligns its value, profit and people propositions, it typically takes years for credible challengers to emerge. Since its Blue Ocean shift, Wawa has enjoyed a decade of strong profitable growth, rolling out its new offering across its 800 stores. • All Blue Oceans eventually turn red. In the long term, success requires reaching for new Blue Oceans as existing ones are eventually invaded by challengers.

Keywords:
Retail, Gas Station, Convenience Store, Grocery Store, Restaurant, Quick Serve Restaurant, Fast Casual Restaurant, Wawa, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Mcdonald’s, Panera, Chipotle

Related:

published: 26 Jan 2018

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Motion Picture &Television
  • Region: North America

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Marvel Way: Restoring a Blue Ocean explains one of the greatest turnarounds in modern business history. This case comes with a two-part video interview with CEO Peter Cuneo who launched a Blue Ocean. Founded in 1939, Marvel Comics initially struggled in a red ocean producing primarily me-to knock-off comic books. In the early 1960’s the business took a blue ocean turn by focusing on noncustomer college students. Marvel invented characters that were people first and superheroes second: Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men. The business thrived. By the 1980’s value extractors took over Marvel, badly misaligning value, profit, and people. In late 1996 Marvel filed for bankruptcy, a victim of red ocean management practices. New management purchased the business out of bankruptcy in 1998 but faced a daunting task: Marvel owed $30 million in annual interest payments on a $250 million loan, cash was so tight that they almost missed payroll, and movie rights for many of their best characters were licensed to others. First managers stabilized the business then Marvel created a new type of blue ocean that went on to produce the most profitable movie franchise in history. Just over a decade after exiting bankruptcy a debt-free Marvel sold itself to Disney for $4.2 billion.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Learn how to use Blue Ocean Strategy to pivot from a red to a blue ocean. Teach the importance of aligning value, profits and people. Explain the difference between value extraction and value innovation, and the financial and ethical ramifications of each.

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Marvel, Motion Pictures, Movies, Ip-Based Finance, Bankruptcy, Ethics, Disney

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