Overfished Ocean Strategy: Powering Up Innovation for a Resource-Deprived World
We all know the proverb about teaching someone to fish, but if there are no fish left, knowing how to catch them won’t do you any good. And that’s the position businesses are in today. Resources are being depleted at an alarming rate and the cost of raw materials is rising dramatically. As a result, scholar and entrepreneur Nadya Zhexembayeva says, businesses need to make resource scarcity—the overfished ocean—their primary strategic consideration, not just a concern for their “green” division.
Overfished Ocean Strategyoffers five essential principles for innovating in this new reality. Zhexembayeva shows how businesses can find new opportunities in what were once considered useless by-products, discover resource-conserving efficiencies up and down their value chain, transfer their expertise from physical products to services, and develop ways to rapidly try out and refine these new business models. She fills the book with examples of companies that are already successfully navigating the overfished ocean, from established corporations such as BMW, Microsoft, and Puma to newcomers such as Lush, FLOOW2, and Sourcemap.
The linear, throwaway economy of today—in which we extract resources at one end, create products, and throw them away at the other—is rapidly coming to an end. In every industry, creative minds are learning how to make money by taking this line and turning it into a circle. Nadya Zhexembayeva shows how you can join them and avoid being left high and dry.
flexible and therefore conform well to the floor. A lot of the products Shaw looked at to replace PVC were very rigid and thus would require a compromise of product quality and performance—a compromise this company was not ready to make. Recyclability and performance were necessary. The result of innovation endurance was the EcoWorx backing system, which is lighter and more flexible than traditional high-performance backing, for easier installation and more efficient shipping—all while being 100
businessperson, that is pretty attractive, because it doesn’t talk about all the negative aspects of resource scarcity and depletion; it talks about taking technical nutrients made of oil and keeping them in circulation so that we don’t deplete all of our resources.2 DON’T WORRY ABOUT FAILURE; you only have to be right once. DREW HOUSTON FOUNDER AND CEO, DROPBOX The concept of the circular economy is not new. Throughout the world, companies similar to Shaw are experimenting with solutions
have the best price or the most unique, most unexpected combination of product features, but the failure to notice changes far away on the left or the right of the value chain might cause elimination of the entire product line, company, and even industry. Companies that have mastered the Overfished Ocean Strategy made the move from a vertical to a horizontal orientation, going beyond the safe boundaries of their companies to the risks—and opportunities—hiding within the entire system. And that is
sell their temporary overcapacity—underutilized machines, skills, and real estate—all with the click of a button. Puma is getting rid of shoe boxes in favor of the remarkable intelligence of the light and reusable Clever Little Bag, while BMW has stopped selling cars and is now selling mobility, electricity included. In Peru, the first billboard that converts air into drinkable water has gone up, while in the Netherlands, wasteful party confetti biodegrades and grows into wild-flowers. It was my
depletion of resources into tomorrow’s differentiated long-lasting profits. Five principles allow companies to power up innovation for a demanding world. It is green, dense, and surprisingly light. Fitting perfectly in the palm of my hand, it leaves a light, oily residue on my skin. It is fragrant (just a touch of soft, alluring smell) and textured (it looks like thousands of little worms squished together). It goes against everything we are taught by conventional strategy theory. And it is an