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Wikipedia: Making a Blue Ocean Strategic Move That Discourages Imitation

Published 28 Sep 2011
Reference 5694
Topic Strategy
Industry Online Media
Region Global
Summary

This case is excellent for teaching both MBAs and executives how to create a blue ocean strategy that is hard to imitate and sustainable. It focuses on Wikipedia versus Britannica.com in the online encyclopedia industry. The case teaches participants the importance of aligning the three strategy propositions of value, profit, and people around both differentiation and low cost to break the value-cost trade-off and create a blue ocean that is hard to imitate. Compelling firsthand video interviews with Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia – along with other key executives, staff and volunteers, otherwise known as Wikipedians – bring this case to life in the classroom. It can be downloaded from https://www.blueoceanstrategy.com/teaching-materials/wikipedia/
The case is also available in Chinese.

Teaching objectives

This case shows participants how to create a blue ocean strategy that is hard to imitate by aligning the value, profit and people propositions using a reconstructionist approach that pursues both differentiation and low cost. In the case of Wikipedia, this alignment allows each strategy proposition to also support and reinforce the other two strategy propositions, resulting in a self-sustaining cycle of growth: as more people are motivated to contribute knowledge, the value of its content increases for the users of Wikipedia, which makes its social impact even greater.

Keywords
  • Value proposition
  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Wikipedia
  • non-profit
  • Wikipedians
  • Profit proposition
  • People proposition
  • Strategic move
  • Online encyclopedia industry
  • social impact
  • Strategy, Competition
  • RD0911
  • AR2011
  • AR1112
  • Q11112