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Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in 1,823 universities and 103 countries around the world, go beyond the standard case-based method, with multimedia cases as historic as the Ford Model T and as recent as Skype, helping students and executives build a deep understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts using a variety of formats and meaningful interactive exercises.

Nintendo Wii

Lessons Learned from Noncustomers

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, HUNTER, Jason

This case illustrates that if companies wish to tap into latent demand and create organic growth they must learn from noncustomers. The case demonstrates that if Nintendo attempted to compete head-to-head against the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft X-box they would likely have been further marginalized in the game console industry.

Instead, Nintendo looked to the gaming industry´s noncustomers for insight: older non-gamers, parents who wanted their children to play active games, the elderly, and very young children. Once Nintendo understood why these noncustomer groups shunned video games, they reconstructed elements across market boundaries to create a console based on simplicity, functionality, and interactivity, with games that dramatically raised utility for these noncustomers.

The case illustrates that a better solution to an existing problem is not good enough. To capture new demand companies need to focus on the demand side of the equation and redefine the problem itself. There are far more noncustomers than customers. Companies need to look systematically across established boundaries of competition and reconstruct buyer value elements across market, industry, buyer, and supplier boundaries to create new market space where a new level of demand is generated.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To clearly show the power of reorienting one’s strategic focus from current competition to alternatives and from customers to noncustomers. From this strategic perspective, one gains insight into how to redefine the problem the industry focuses on and reconstruct buyer value elements that reside across industry boundaries
  • To illustrate that by looking to noncustomers and focusing on their key commonalities – not differences – one can aggregate new demand and offer the mass of customers and noncustomers a leap in value
  • To understand that companies must concentrate not only on customers but also on noncustomers, equally vital for future growth. This allows companies to reach beyond existing demand to unlock a new mass of customers that did not exist before
Case Study
Video & Lecture Slides