The Over-Fished Ocean strategy is an alternative to red and blue ocean strategies that addresses resource limits and the need to focus on conserving and maximizing resources along the value chain. Resources refers to any of the inputs necessary to produce and deliver a value proposition to the consumer. Resource limits refers to unavailability or inconsistent supply and escalating prices. The strategy employs a metaphor of the industry being an ocean that is fished to the point of scarcity. This approach requires a combination of strategies, such as atypical integrations, user experience, and reducing waste along the value chain. The strategy bases its value on the principle that, over time, resources generally become more expensive and difficult to obtain. As such, managers in industries facing resource limits must employ a strategy to effectively address these limits.
Developing an Overfished Ocean Strategy
A traditional strategy is often linear in nature. That is, production and delivery of a value proposition to a consumer follows a dedicated path. Once consumed, the resources associated with delivering the value proposition are too often discarded. An alternative strategy would be circular, where the resources remaining after consumption of the value proposition are recycled to create new value. An alternative aspect of an overfished strategy would be to repurpose resources at one point along the value creation and delivery chain at another point on the chain.
The use of resources during the production, delivery, and consumption cycle must be used to create some form of competitive advantage for the firm. The competitive advantage may be a resource cost advantage, resource availability advantage, or brand advantage. That is, developing manners to repurpose and reuse available resources may drive down the cost of production (a cost strategy), make resources available that are otherwise difficult or impossible to obtain, or create brand awareness or customer loyalty resulting from the strategic approach (differentiation). Many consumers are loyal to brands that preserve resources through repurposing and recycling. Any combination of these advantages are all synergies that result from the overfished ocean strategy. The result of effectively optimizing resources is to gain a sustainable advantage over competitors who struggle with resource availability and costs.
Examples of Overfished Oceans
Companies seeking to recycle or repurpose resources tend to look away from the traditional product, deliver, and consume model. Examples might include:
- Recycling programs that provide value to consumers to return raw material for reuse.
- Eliminating or combining fossil fuels with renewable fuels to maximize energy production. Think of a factory that uses minor amounts of natural gas to drive the production of solar and wind energy. This repurposes traditional use of the gas for power output to produce a larger amount and more sustainable energy supply.
- Renting and sharing services in the home, auto, and personal good space seeks to create consumer value by continually repurposing the same resource.