I know, the headline of this post doesn’t sound very topical. Don’t worry, this will not become a review of a not-so-new management book. However, exactly that is what I found on the website of Financial Times Deutschland last Friday. There is an article with the headline roughly translated as “Why should competition bother me”. The abstract reads
“The blue ocean strategy enables companies to win new customers. In uncontested markets there is no need to continuously look at competitors. Instead, companies can focus on their customers.”
What follows are some real-world examples of companies with successful blue ocean strategies and a brief description of this concept. This is complemented with some comments about sustainable innovation. The authors, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are mentioned, but not the book itself.
At that point I felt the need to do some background research: As a reminder – the first edition of the book dates back to February 2005; hence, it is more than three years old now. Even the German edition is from September 2005.
The content of the article is nice and I don’t want to debate the idea of the blue ocean strategy. What I really dislike about this article is that I reads like the presentation of a brand-new management concept. There is no reference to the book and no hint that that Kim and Mauborgne developed this idea some years ago. Even worse, I could not find any reference point to some topical news like for instance a company that hit this weeks headlines with a big success of a typical blue ocean strategy. So what is today’s newspaper article supposed to tell me? There is nothing new in it. I can’t avoid the feeling that it is just a space-filler that was written some time ago but never got published – or was it actually published before and is now recycled? I really like the On Management-series in the FT. These comments usually refer to latest developments or at least don’t recycle three years old ideas. The above article in contrast does not provide any value for the reader. It probably just occupies some space for which they had no topical content and no advertisement to fill it. Now I wonder which market space Financial Times Germany intends to win with this sort of strategy!
The Financial Times Deutschland is discontinued and was published the last time on December 7 2012. According to the majority of comments on online news sites, FTD had a really good reputation. Many expressed their regret and stated that they would miss this newspaper.
I just re-read this old post of mine. Now I wonder if FTD could have done better if they had paid more attention to their online-content.