Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Changing the rules

How often have you heard the phrase, “Rules are meant to be broken”? I have to admit I have been a king rule-breaker, especially around my teens and, ok, my twenties. Breaking rules brings up one big challenge though: you just end up being defined by the rules you tried to break in the first place. These days I don’t want to just break the rules. I want to change them.

The people who turned this idea into an art were W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne with their book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. My favorite example in the book is Cirque du Soleil. They changed the rules of the circus. They dropped the animals and kept the extraordinary physical skills, dropped the sawdust and opened theaters, dropped the circus menu format and told stories. Amazing stories of dreams and magic and emotion. Lots of emotion. They added to the attention-grabbing spectacle of the traditional circus, the attraction drama of great theater. That’s a lot of rules to change in a business that has defended its traditions for centuries. The rewards for Cirque have been huge, with global audiences and the inspiration of great artists like Canadian theater director Robert LePage.


Susan956 said...

I read an editorial review of Blue Ocean Strategy and within the same was a quote from the book:
"Create and Capture new Clientele:

Create and this more Attention or Attraction amalgam?

I remember when Cirque du Soleil first kicked off and, to coin a phrase "they have come a long way baby". Their website is an art unto itself.

I agree with you Kevin that their presentations are awesome. I'm not sure there is any experience in the world like watching another who is highly skilled doing their 'thing'.

Obviously in the Cirque, groups of people add power and impact but whether it be watching a glass blower or someone turning wood or dancing en pointe, there is something magnificently inspiring about watching another's skill reveal and play out.

Mind you, I was interested to listen to a section of Cirque music and overlay it with a comedy tune from Bear McCreary's site. There was actually quite a nice dialogue between the two:

Dialogues are nice :)

For me, Cirque is encouraging. Strike out for what you long for and believe..and..magic can happen....

Susan956 said...

Evocation in production outcomes can often be just as powerful if excerpts are shown (Kevin's choice of this image from Cirque is an example). I have said here before that I admire Bear McCreary enormously and I was interested to see how people may have translated him on YouTube. I conducted a search and there were a few interesting outcomes however I think this superb. Stunning cinematography and the music associated seamlessly. Battle of Britain:

the paper bicycle said...

I taught a module on blue ocean strategy to a group of small business owners who immediately embraced the debate as to who was a pioneer, who was a settler, and who was a migrator. It was beautiful to see something actually inspire without any intense explanation. Looking away from competitors and establishing your own ground is the wonderful stuff. I can't wait for the film.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

I just picked up a copy of the book the other day at Barnes & Noble, and this was the most striking example out of what I had flipped through. The way the author had charted the strategies through which Cirque du Soleil differentiates itself from the others is brilliant. Not only have they reinvented the industry, but they have created for themselves a new niche which has been difficult to beat (and the ticket sales are proof).

I haven't had the chance to watch a show just yet, but I think that next time they are anywhere near, I will definitely help their cause and watch.

Another great example from the author was Southwest and their strategies in creating the low-cost carrier market. Brilliant!

Susan956 said...

the paper bicycle.. I love analogies and metaphors are a brilliant communication and teaching/learning strategy. Of course some are all those thing you list..and more. :)