How A Blue Ocean Strategy® Is Right for Delaware Valley University

Higher ed is “On the Brink” of big “Blue Oceans”

Higher education is an old, established system facing a fast-changing market space — not a good mix. If you are in higher education in 2019, you are well aware of the challenges you are facing. What do you do if you are not among the top 50 colleges in the country with major endowments and large numbers of potential student applicants? What is your role and for whom? Could a Blue Ocean Strategy help you find your purpose and successfully attract today’s generation of students?

Delaware Valley University: case study of a successful Blue Ocean Strategy

These were the challenges facing Delaware Valley University (DelVal) when they hired us to do Blue Ocean work with them. They were asking big strategic questions. Our job was to help them find the right answers. You might be facing the same problems as well: too few students, shifting demands of faculty and staff, challenges from the workplace, and questions about the real value of a college education.

What really impressed us about DelVal’s leadership was how they wanted to share their Blue Ocean Strategy work to help other higher ed organizations of all shapes and sizes step back and rethink where they are going and how they are going to get there — big strategy questions. So after helping Maria Gallo (DelVal’s president) and her team successfully construct a new strategic plan for the University, we turned our work with them into a comprehensive case study which we offer here as a white paper.

Find ways to meet unmet needs in ways the competition isn’t 

This white paper is designed to help you shift from competing in a “red ocean” with other colleges and universities to finding innovative ways to tackle students’ unmet needs, and seeking nonusers who could actually become enrolled “users,” albeit in different ways than in the past. That, in a nutshell, is what Blue Ocean Strategy is all about.

To download our white paper, “Delaware Valley University Embraces Blue Ocean Strategy®,” click below.

A very timely turnaround story

The Delaware Valley University case study comes at a time when higher education institutions across the U.S. are facing many of the same challenges. Although the tendency is simply to keep doing what they’ve always done, the times, they are a’changing. This requires institutions to move faster, become better at testing ideas and evaluating results, and substantially change how they see themselves and their roles in the lives of those they serve.

It is one thing to preach agility and flexibility. It is quite another to provide a method for people to actually “see things with fresh eyes,” which is the greatest value of the Blue Ocean Strategy process. The very foundation of this anthropological approach is to step out and look inside, as if you are not part of the institution itself but an educated observer.

To truly see what is happening all around you, particularly consumers’ needs that are not being met, but that could be, you must go visually exploring. You must listen differently. You must fight the tendency to fit what you see into your old traditional box (which probably is stuck in the past). You must leave the competition-filled red ocean and find your big beautiful blue one.

Also, you need to see the talent that is all around you.

Faculty, staff, trustees, students and your community are all there with great ideas. They just need you to listen to their needs and come up with innovative ways to meet them, which is the goal of Blue Ocean Strategy: offering solutions that your competition is not. When you do that, you’ll be amazed at all the great things that come your way.

To learn more about how Blue Ocean Strategy can transform higher ed, check out these blogs and podcasts

Ready to find your Blue Ocean Strategy? We can help.

At Simon Associates Management Associates (SAMC), we specialize in working with colleges and universities on innovation and change. As certified Blue Ocean Strategists and culture change experts, we have a proven track record of helping higher educational institutions of all sizes realign their business models to better prepare their students for today’s world. As well as the blogs mentioned above, we’ve written a number of other highly informative blogs on the subject; please let us know if they spark some ideas which you can apply to your organization. We invite you to contact us to help you overcome the challenges your business or higher education institution is facing so that you too can soar.

From Observation to Innovation,





Andy and Andi Simon
Simon Associates Management Consultants

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