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Case Studies by Chan W. Kim and
Renee Mauborgne

73 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 17 Dec 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Retail had always fascinated Katrina Lake, the youngest woman CEO to ever lead a US initial public offering. But she couldn’t help noticing that the age-old industry never changed. Brick-and-mortar retailers still competed on variety and touch-and-feel, while online competitors sought to differentiate through low prices and fast shipping. She realized that artificial intelligence and human beings -- in particular, stylists -- could be creatively leveraged to change the retail value proposition, create a fundamentally different and significantly superior buyer experience, and a differentiated and low-cost offering. The case describes how Lake turned a Harvard Business School class project into a $1.5 billion company, Stitch Fix. Stitch Fix provides a personal styling service, sending individually selected clothing and accessories based on customer preferences and constraints. Buyers receive the knowledge, creativity and style expertise of human stylists, combined with the benefits a top-tier AI provides. These are blended into a service previously reserved for the wealthy (personal styling), delivered directly to customers’ homes, at a price point that fits their budget. Lake’s Stitch Fix is founded and led by women, and has one of the largest female management and workforces in the AI space, if not almost all industries. As of 2019, Stitch Fix employs more than 6,600 employees, of which 86% are women. The case works especially well for teaching about women in business. It also looks at recent attempts by Amazon to jump into the blue ocean Stitch Fix created. This leads to an interesting discussion about the likely impact of Amazon’s Personal Shopper service, inviting student input on how to counter Amazon’s attack.

Pedagogical Objectives:
In this case students learn: • How Lake overcame extreme investor reluctance to raise funds from early-stage investors and venture capitalists who didn’t buy into her concept, with an open discussion on how she might have more effectively worked through these issues and the role gender might have played in her very difficult journey to raise funds. • How Lake unlocked a differentiated and low-cost offering leveraging both the latest artificial intelligence and the brilliance and creativity of human beings, namely stylists, to open new market space in retail. This case is among the first to explore how an organization can successfully leverage both AI and human personal interaction to create a fundamentally new offering. • How to think beyond the boundaries of an existing industry, break out of bloody competition, and create a new market space.

Keywords:
Artificial Intelligence, Ai, Retail, Machine Learning, Apparel, Clothing, Fashion, Women in Business, Personal Shopper, Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Data Science, Algorithms, Data-Driven

published: 29 Nov 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
In the year 2000, only 2% of women in India used menstrual hygiene products. Almost a quarter-billion relied on cloth rags and many rural women were banished to a hut during their monthly cycle. In these unsanitary conditions, 62.4% had experienced at least one reproductive tract infection, with the result that teenage hysterectomies were not uncommon. The lack of menstrual products was linked to a high drop-out rate from school, forced teenage marriage, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy and often a lifetime of subservience. Yet despite the severity of the problem, taboo kept it largely hidden. Indians did not discuss menstruation. Arunachalam “Arun” Muruganantham changed this by innovating a new business method: micro-factories where women produced and sold sanitary napkins directly to other women. The case discusses how he solved a previously unaddressed problem in a way that created a new market, overcame deep social taboos, challenged centuries-old traditions and bettered women’s lives, resulting in the creation of over 3,500 small businesses. It highlights how enterprises can be economically profitable and a force for good. And why, contrary to conventional thinking, innovation does not need to be disruptive but can be based on nondisruptive market creation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To show that innovation does not always involve disruption. It is possible to create a win-win for society and for the company that does not displace existing markets and players. This broader conception of innovation and embraces what Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne call “nondisruptive creation.”

Keywords:
Arunachalam Muruganantham, Period. End of Sentence., Pad Man, India, Nondisruptive Creation, Disruption, Social Entrepreneurship, Indian Women, Women’s Health, Menstrual Hygiene, Developing Nations, Innovative Healthcare, Academy Award Winning Documentary, Blue Ocean Strategy, Sanitary Paper Product Manufacturing

published: 12 Nov 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case describes how three INSEAD alumni founded fintech company Prodigy Finance and created the market for international student loans by solving a problem long overlooked by the finance industry: funding for students in pursuit of advanced education outside their home country, especially “high-earning degree programmes” at top universities with high tuition fees and few scholarships. Traditional banks had ignored this burning need and stayed focused purely on domestic borrowers and local credit records. The founders of Prodigy Finance took a radically different approach, creating a lending platform based on a forward-looking, cross-border risk assessment model and connecting international student borrowers with individual and institutional investors. By 2019, Prodigy Finance had helped over 11,200 students from 132 countries, lending more than US$538 million. This strategic move offers an illustration of “nondisruptive market creation”, a concept coined by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, authors of the bestselling Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean Shift. By identifying and solving a problem that had never been addressed, Prodigy Finance created a new market beyond existing industry boundaries, unlocking and capturing burgeoning new demand without displacing or competing with what the financial services sector had to offer.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case is intended for use in MBA and executive classrooms, with the following objectives: 1) To illustrate nondisruptive creation and the major advantages of this market-creating method. 2) Use the case as a context to take students through the major steps of identifying potential opportunities for nondisruptive creation. 3) Demonstrate how to use new technologies, new platforms and new business models to achieve nondisruptive market creation.

Keywords:
Fintech, Loan Industry, Student Loans, Bond, Community Investment, Debt Financing, Credit Risk Assessment, Social Good, Social Impact, Disruption, Nondisruption, Nondisruptive Creation, Nondisruptive Innovation

published: 28 Aug 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
The background notes accompany the free online case “Indian Premier League: Innovation Without Disruption”, a self-paced, interactive case that lets readers analyze the strategic logic behind the launch of Indian Premier League (IPL) using blue ocean analytical tools and frameworks. With visual aids and interactive exercises, the case explores how the IPL transformed traditional days-long cricket matches into a thrilling three-hour sports drama with Bollywood music and cheerleaders, and opened up a new market space - “cricketainment” on the pitch and on primetime TV for families to enjoy. Students and executives come to understand the IPL and cricketainment market as an example of nondisruptive creation, i.e., they did not displace or disrupt the existing sector (players, products or services). They were creative but not destructive of what went before, i.e., the domestic cricket league and other forms of entertainment. Applying Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne’s three-step process, readers discover how the IPL unlocked a new market that was beneficial to both the domestic cricket league and the entertainment industry.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The teaching objectives of the online case and background notes are: 1) To explore how the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reinvented the way cricket was played and enjoyed; 2) Apply Blue Ocean concepts, tools and frameworks to the BCCI’s strategic move to create the IPL; 3) Understand that innovation and growth can be driven by “nondisruptive creation”; 4) Illustrate that concept/process using the BCCI’s success in creating a new market and exponential growth without displacing or disrupting the existing order.

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Indian Premier League, Value Innovation, Sport, Cricket, India, Bollywood, Ipl, Nondisruptive Creation, Sports Business, Public Private Partnership, Disruption, Entertainment

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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: 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 video-game 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:
Computer Software, Value Innovation, Blue Ocean Strategy, Strategy, Disruption, Wii, Switch, Videogames, Video Game Consoles, Mobile Games, Sony, Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft, Gaming, Playstation, Xbox, Market Creating Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Strategy, Competition

published: 22 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • 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: 22 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This highly popular exercise allows participants to actually apply the concept, frameworks, and process of blue ocean shift to one of the most competitive industries – the travel industry. Using worksheets, participants will take a step-by-step approach to systematically shift their strategic logic from competing to creating and apply the processes and tools of blue ocean shift to the travel industry. The case includes a real-life example of a successful blue ocean shift in the travel industry and is accompanied by a firsthand video interview with Dong Gun Lee, CEO of My Real Trip, a Korean company that challenged the travel industry’s long existing assumptions to open new market space.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case consists of three parts: 1) Part A is a short case that looks into the competitive landscape of the travel industry in Korea and ends with the challenging question to participants to create their own blue ocean strategy. 2) A Blue Ocean Shift Exercise is conducted in the classroom using accompanying worksheets. Participants follow the process of blue ocean shift using the Buyer Utility Map, Noncustomer Analysis, the Six-Path Framework, the E-R-R-C Grid, and the To-Be Strategy Canvas to create their own blue ocean strategy. 3) Part B provides an example of creating a new market space in the travel industry in 2012 in Korea - My Real Trip. This theory-based video case narrates how My Real Trip reconstructed the market boundaries and created new demand in the crowded and divided travel industry. The strategic move can be discussed in the classroom using the lecture slides that accompany this case.

Keywords:
Blue Ocean Strategy, Blue Ocean Shift, Sharing Economy, Travel Industry, Korea, Entrepreneurship, Start-Up, Strategy Formulation, Workshop, Market Creation, Exercise, Innovation

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Abstract:
This case analyses Tata Motors' strategic move to create and launch the Tata Nano, exploring the factors behind the project's earlier success and the reasons for its execution failure. It illustrates the importance of having a strong and aligned set of value, profit and people propositions in order to create and capture a blue ocean. The teaching note reviews how Tata Nano created its exceptional value proposition and attained a viable profit proposition by following the right strategic sequence, and then examines different components of Tata Nano's people proposition to identify the major causes of failure in executing its blue ocean strategy. The case comes with a teaching note, lecture slides and a three-part movie based on first-hand research and face-to-face interviews describing Tata Nano’s strategic move from conception to execution. The slides and videos can be downloaded for teaching purposes from www.blueoceanstrategy.com

Pedagogical Objectives:
1) To demonstrate how Tata Nano reconstructed market boundaries across alternative industries and created a commercially viable blue ocean opportunity by following the right strategic sequence. 2) To highlight the importance of matching value and profit propositions with an equally strong people proposition in ensuring the successful execution of a blue ocean strategy. 3) To review major BOS concepts, frameworks and tools in the course of analyzing the Tata Nano strategic move.

Keywords:
Target Costing, Value Innovation, Business Failures, Emerging Markets, Pricing, Pricing Strategy, Strategic Alignment, Execution, Stakeholders, Blue Ocean Strategy, Strategy, Automobile Industry, Tata Nano, India, Pricing Strategy, Strategic Innovation, Strategy Execution, Execution Failure, Business Failure, Noncustomers

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