Navigating Blue Ocean Opportunities

Navigating Blue Ocean Opportunities

Leadership in your organization has given you a project. The difference about this this particular project is that it does not align with the organization’s structure, and does not fit the current business model. To build the right solution means you need to create a solution that fits outside the current organization’s structural model. Kotter, the author of the 8-step change leadership model, has an updated leadership model call ACCELERATE! The ACCELERATE model may be the right tool for creating the space necessary to build a successful project.

This idea of innovation is a reality for many organizations today as the environment is highly competitive and leaders are hard pressed to find creative activities outside their present business as usual manner (Verle, Markic, Kodric, & Zoran, 2014). For the employee or team tasked with such a project, the challenge can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, working outside the organization’s present structure suggests errors and mistakes are prone to occur. On the other hand, making mistakes can be cause for celebration as the organization may be exploring growth-oriented opportunities where change is happening at a pace faster than leadership and the rank and file can manage (Dodge, Dwyer, Witzeman, Neylon, & Taylor, 2017).

A Closer Look

Becoming a nimble organization and having the ability to change direction can be a positive attribute within the organization’s culture. What does that really mean? For many organizations, creativity and the innovation that comes with being nimble is expected to fit within their current business model and organizational structure. However, this may not always be the case; trying to fit a square peg into a round hole may not produce the hoped-for results.

Innovation is Key to Business Growth

Take the organization’s present business model– though it may still be prosperous, the model may not fit the vision of the given project, and it may not be the model that aligns with future opportunities, performance, growth, or organizational survival (Zacher, & Rosing, 2015). This misalignment is like fitting a square peg into a round hole making it quite challenging without adjustments to either the project or the organization’s structure.

Today’s fast-paced business environment encourages innovation within organizations. However, how does leadership muster the motivation needed for employees to perform at levels that produce such an impact? There are some interesting results from recent research. First, innovation can be produced by combining productivity and creativity (Dodge et al., 2017). For leadership to allow for such creativity, several behavioral criteria will need to be aligned.


Creative Innovation

Take the ideas of innovative development. Many moving parts require identification to ensure organizational alignment is in place. Similar to creating a cultural change in organizational structure, creating the right alignment within the organization’s structure can have many bumps in the road.

In the end, changing the project is notably a simpler fix than to change the organization, as that can be timely and process-oriented change. However, altering or adding to the organization’s model may be the better solution should leadership conduct the proper needs assessment of the market.

Greg Price

Associate Dean

School of Applied Leadership


Dodge, R., Dwyer, J., Witzeman, S., Neylon, S., & Taylor, S. (2017). The role of leadership in innovation. Research Technology Management, 60(3), 22-28.

Verle, K., Markic, M., Kodric, B., & Gorenc Zoran, A. (2014). Managerial competencies and organizational structures. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 114(6), 922-935.

Zacher, H., & Rosing, K. (2015). Ambidextrous leadership and team innovation. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 36(1), 54-68.

Published July 12, 2018



* Indicates a required field.

By clicking SUBMIT, I understand and agree to CityU's privacy policy.