What if we could exploit the brand essence of Cirque du Soleil in our business?
The Business Week Online article ‘How To Hit a Moving Target’ says “These days all competitive advantages are fleeting. So the smartest companies are learning to create new ones—again and again and again.”
The article also says:
“Niches are nice, but inventing a new market is a whole lot better. Former fire-eating street performer Guy Laliberté founded Canada's Cirque du Soleil 22 years ago on the notion of a unique combination of circus (but without the animals) and theatre (but more acrobatic). Despite massive global expansion, with about $700 million in profitable annual sales, Cirque has no significant direct competitors.
Cirque's Lamarre attributes the company's edge to a stubborn resolve to "stay crazy" and keep "the suits" away from all creative decisions. To keep shows fresh and get a read on shifting public tastes, an in-house group called New Tendencies studies what's new in restaurants, car design, fashion, and other unrelated industries. One result: The group noticed the ascendance of Asian themes, so that flavour was injected into Cirque's hit MGM Grand show Kà.
This kind of market-making lets innovators from Cirque du Soleil to Apple to Starbucks avoid market share wars and reap big rewards, says W. Chan Kim, co-author with Renée Mauborgne of the 2005 book Blue Ocean Strategy. Their research over the past decade shows that 86% of launches by 108 companies were mere line extensions, which accounted for 39% of profits from all new-business launches. The remaining 14% represented new markets, and they generated 61% of profits.”
But many decision makers (Leaders, managers) in organisations look at innovation possibilities and do not see Blue Ocean but a slippery red slope fraught with danger to themselves and the organisation. Line extensions are ‘safe’ as they do not stretch people beyond their comfort zone and the activity pays lip service to the Leaders exhortation to “Innovate or die; this time we mean it!” But as my wife sometimes says to me “We think we are doing something. But we mistake activity for action. It is exhausting being active, but achieving something is also rewarding.”
So how do we really start to exploit the essence of Cirque?
One way to start is just to ask the simple question “If we were Cirque what would we do?”
When we have some answers we can ask the follow up “Why aren’t we doing one, some or all of these?”
and then “How do we start?”
…. More to follow…..