Overfished ocean strategy 

ideas & insights  by

Nadya Zhexembayeva

Nadya Zhexembayeva © 2014-2015

powering up innovation for a resource-deprived world

We live amidst remarkable transformation. The linear throwaway economy of today – where we extract the resources, process them, use them barely once, and trash them immediately like a cheap plastic fork - is coming to an end. We are, simply put, running out of things to mine and places to trash. And the market is beginning to recognize it as well: after an entire century of falling raw material costs, the first ten years of the new millennia have seen a whopping 147% increase in real commodity prices. Do you happen to be one of millions of managers fighting the ever-growing priceson raw materials, transportation, operations, and more? Welcome to the future!

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, the largest online repair community, and founder of software company Dozuki, describes this transformation with laser-cut precision: “The economy is broken. It's not because of partisan bickering or the debt ceiling. It's not because there is too much government spending or too little, too many taxes or too few. The problem cuts much deeper than that; it's systemic and it's global. The economy is broken because the principles that make the marketplace thrive will eventually destroy it.”

A new economy is being born– one that takes the line and turns it into a circle. With 
​that comes a new economic order, where we compete and win using radically new
set of rules. For decades, companies claimed their victory by finding the best spot – a unique position on the crowded competitive landscape. Others strived to avoid the crowd by discovering a new market space – swimming into the “blue ocean” waters far away from shark-filled blood-red existing markets. But this old economic order is running its course. Whether red, blue, or rainbow, the oceans are getting empty, and those managers that deeply understand and master this shift are able to turn the new reality into disruptive innovation and remarkable competitive advantage. As they ride ahead of the wave, new products, new business models, new markets, and new profits follow.

​Overfished Ocean Strategyis for everyone who wants to survive and thrive in this new economy – people who are looking for new solutions to their managerial challenges, entrepreneurs and business leaders eager to protect their companies and get ahead of the wave, journalists and academics searching for new level of discussion, educators interested in connecting the dots across disciplines and generations, non-profit leaders trying to understand and engage with the new business word, and, perhaps, most importantly, global youth who will grow into the generation responsible for making the new world work.

There is a very good chance that all this talk about resource depletion makes you yon, cringe, and recall the recent “green business” craze. No doubt, we all suffer from “sustainability fatigue.” So, let me make one thing perfectly clear. Pursuing Overfished Ocean Strategy is a far cry from all the sustainability efforts that result in “green” products that are (let’s be frank!) ugly, poorly performing, and grossly over-priced. The world deprived of resources demands a far more radical change than apologetic compromises or PR nods to the environmentalist. The new era belongs to an entirely new set of approaches and competencies. It is time to leave bolt-on sustainability in the past, and look into the future filled with change of remarkable magnitude – and promise.

In this book you will learn the new rules of the trade– five essential principles, which are becoming increasingly more important for individuals and companies alike. One: From Line to Circle. Two: From Vertical to Horizontal. Three: From Growth to Growth. Four: From Plan to Model. Five: From Department to Mindset. Together, these approaches inspire radical change and drive disruptive innovation across countries and industries –and my task is to make them work for you, too.

I started working on this book at exactly 3:18 pm on a cold February afternoon in the winter of 2012, standing in front of a group of executives, ready for my strategy talk. The sun has started it’s descent, and the faces of the business leaders in front of me seemed to be in perfect harmony with the snow outside the endless window: cold and motionless. My challenge was simple: to make invisible visible. The good news was that the journey of discovery had much to offer to the strong minds sitting in front of me: bankers, car manufacturers, pharmaceutical stars, and traders. While most of the world (including the leaders in my room!) remains in the dark, Microsoft  is researching a way to turn data servers into residential furnaces – saving millions on cooling of data centers while providing crucial utility to homes across the world. FLOOW2 is making money on allowing businesses sell their temporary overcapacity – underutilized machines, skills, and real estate – all at a click of a button. Puma is getting out of show boxes with remarkable intelligence of the Clever Little Bag, while BMW stops selling cars – and starts selling mobility, electricity included. In Peru, the first billboard that converts air into drinkable water  goes up, while in Netherlands, wasteful party confetti biodegrades and grows into wildflowers. It was my job to tell these stories – and share the secrets that make each of them work. So, off I went: “We live amidst remarkable – though largely undetected - transformation…”

​Whether these words find you on a sunny summer day or a cold winter afternoon, my task is still the same. This book is here to make the new competitive reality visible – and share the best examples of radical innovation for the resource-deprived world. I am deeply thankful to all the executives and all the businesses that have been my partners for over a decade and to those who continue to open their doors to my questions and quests. The ocean of resources and ideas is getting overused, but - as many of these pioneering businesses show -
there is plenty for all of us

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Get the first 40 pages of the book for free here.