“To be successful we must live from our imaginations, not from our memories.”
—Stephen Covey, author and leadership expert
Nearly a decade ago I started this blog as a resource on Blue Ocean Strategy, innovation and creativity. And in those first few years it quickly became the go-to place on the Internet for up to date information, stories and inspiration on Blue Ocean Strategy.
1200 posts later, it delights me to announce the relaunch of this space. So please check back next week and share in the excitement as the new home for Slingshot and Re-Imagining Boundaries launches.
For all you nostalgic historians, the archives will remain accessible for a few weeks after the relaunch.
In a highly competitive and changing landscape, companies must understand that they are not in the business of making a certain product or providing a certain service, but rather they offer something much more encompassing, much more fundamental: they are in the business of enriching people’s lives.
They are in the business of making people’s lives more fun, more thrilling, simpler, more comfortable, more liberating, safer, more meaningful, more efficient, and more harmonious. This seemingly small shift in strategic thinking is huge. It allows companies to infatuate large groups of consumers and to do so continuously.
See how the traditional wine glass is being continuously re-imagined to enrich the experience and taste for wine aficionados while simultaneously expanding brand relevance.
Maximilian Riedel needed only a few minutes to shatter my views about wine glasses.
Riedel (pronounced REE-dle) is the 11th generation of his family in the glassware business. His grandfather, Claus, revolutionized wine stemware in the 1950s by developing different glass designs for different types of wine. Today the name Riedel is synonymous with fine crystal.
In order for companies to deliver lifestyle enrichment to consumers, being relevant is much more important than being best in any traditional measure.
As my example today shows, you can be the most well-known brand in the world and the undisputed market leader, but it won’t matter if your market segment itself becomes irrelevant and no longer enriching people’s evolving lifestyles. At most, you can prolong your inevitable demise and have the dubious honor of being the last in your market to fold — in this case carbonated beverages.
“For Coke to regain brand relevance, it has to try and meet changing consumer goals,” Professor Dhar said. “Innovation is one way. A different way may be to try to identify relevant goals that can be tied to moments which are made for carbonated beverages. This requires deep consumer insights and being on the offense rather than defense about the category.”
As we grew older, our imagination was gradually reigned in, and our thinking eventually settled within the accepted boundaries of conventionality.
Last week when I spoke at the Icelandic Marketing Association (IMARK)’s big, annual gathering, and was invited to meet with one of Iceland’s biggest celebrities. No, not Bjork, but the mayor of Reykjavik. And like I advocate in my book, Slingshot, Jon Gnarr lives a life full of continuously overstepping perceived boundaries. After all, he is actually a comedian, not a politician, which is why news outlets oftentimes refer to him as the world’s most “fun,” “interesting,” and “creative” mayor.
Jon Gnarr (born January 2, 1967) is the current mayor of Iceland’s biggest city, Reykjavik. It’s the northernmost capital in the world and the heart of Iceland’s economic and governmental activity. Here are 12 reasons why Gnarr is the most interesting mayor in the world:
There is an exciting shortcut to becoming market driving: you don’t necessarily have to invent something completely new; instead you can repackage already existing components in a meaningful, new way.
It is the common theme among many of the world’s top innovators, from Apple (blending technology with art), Cirque du Soleil (circus with theatre, ballet and opera), to Starbucks (centuries-old café culture with a quick-service model), and NetJets (airplane ownership with airline business travel). Today I share a comical example that represents an offshoot of this kind of thinking.
Noshing on letters and numbers is nothing new. We've been eating alphabet soup and cereal for years. But updating kids' food with tech-savvy symbols seems inevitable.
"Social media is all about conversation and we're confident Mashtags will resonate across various groups of people," Birds Eye brand manager Pete Johnson said in a statement. "We're constantly looking for ways to innovate and inspire consumers and hope that Mashtags will get people talking around the table and help to make mealtimes more enjoyable."
This week I am in Iceland as a featured presenter on 'Re-Imagine Boundaries' at the Icelandic Marketing Association (IMARK)’s big, annual gathering. IMARK is the professional association for individuals and organizations who are leading the practice, teaching, and development of marketing in Iceland.
Other featured speakers include Ruth Balbach, Creative Director at Target Corporation, and Martin Ringqvist, Creative Director and Senior Partner at the independent agency Forsman & Bodenfors.
What if we could reignite our childhood creativity and deconstruct our realm of acquired assumptions in the process?
It would not only be disarmingly fun but deeply meaningful in guiding our strategic thinking. Here is the connection: the basis of the most successful strategies is not outcompeting rivals, but rather creating your own game, your own market space. As the the role of creativity is given greater priority, see how select universities in the US are taking a refreshing new approach to the curriculum.
Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape.
“The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered courses in it since 1967.
“That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”