I guess, I am too enamored with this concept of trimming that I will ramble about it one more time. I am going to use 2 primary examples for illustrating trimming and how that can lead to Blue Oceans.
Some definitions first. Blue Ocean is a metaphor for unexplored markets or territory. Trimming is the removal of components from a system rather than adding to the system.
The first example is that of SouthWest Airlines (SWA), one of Mindtree’s customers. What SWA did was to take an existing airline and trim out unnecessary stuff, which they thought was irrelevant to the customer’s primary purpose that they actually landed up with a different customer base. Make flights as affordable as driving from one city to the other. What did SWA trim out? Food, seat assignments, boarding cards, varied airplane fleet, frequent flyer programs (although SWA does have a customer loyalty programme in place, it is still a trimmed down version of what the other airlines can offer), prime city airports, to name a few. What did they end up with? A totally different customer base where none of the other stuff mattered, only cost was essential. Also, SWA ended up trimming their competitors because of the other trimmings, since they weren’t looking at the same customer base. What else can SWA trim? Airplanes? Crew? Airport? Each of these are very essential right now, however one could think of ideas once these necessary items are trimmed out.
image courtesy: http://www.christinameinen.com
The second example is of course, the inimitable, often talked about, iPod.
Image Courtesy: http://www.apple.com
Here trimming is being used only to get new designs and functionalities. iPod classic was the first one. When the screen was trimmed, the shuffle was born. When the jog dial was trimmed, the nano was born. When the jog dial is trimmed, but the form factor is retained, one gets the iPod touch. By trimming, the functionality of control should not be lost, since that is a beneficial factor. Now prediction time, what will be the next object to be trimmed? Both screen and jog dial. Well, actually, Apple already did that. They got small talk.
Image courtesy: http://tomcworld.com/
So, the first step is to identify the heart of the product or service and trim that “heart” out. One gets really powerful and innovative solutions.
Good luck trimming!