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Apple Watch is Blue Ocean Hitting Switzerland

Posted by Scott Barron on Mar 20, 2015 3:35:12 AM
Scott Barron

In light of the geography, it's big news that a blue ocean is frightening Switzerland.

Swiss watchmakers are facing a new, though not unexpected, threat from the Apple innovation tsunami. Like the music and book sellers of old, this is a game-changing moment for the time keeping industry. Those disrupters from Cupertino are at it again, and the insights for school designers are numerous.

Blue Ocean WatchesOf course this isn't the first digital competition in the intricate world of watchmaking. Those with a few gray hairs will certainly remember the Texas Instrument watch back in the 70's. Those red little number were so cool, and it could be a stopwatch and an alarm, too! My friends were so impressed with it. Those were the days...

Back to the Future

Samsung, Pebble, Sony, LG, and many others have been selling "smartwatches" for at least a few years. What's so great about the Apple Watch? The difference is in the purpose and design. Apple's goal is to save time not just track time, and that functional purpose is enough to send tremors of competitive fear throughout Switzerland and the rest of the industry.

Early users of Apple Watch say they spend significantly less time on their actual phones, which means they don't get suckered into another game of Words With Friends or the latest Facebook updates after making a call. Loss of focus and increased distractions are the biggest drains on productivity due to mobile usage, but these people have found that using their Watch actually reduces this down time. What a great excuse for buying a new Watch!

Swatch is most concerned about the threat posed by Apple. Over the last few years Nick Hayek, the CEO of Swatch, bemoaned the small screens and lack of elegance common to previous versions of the digital chronometer. Now that he's facing lost revenue of over $500 million this year alone, however, he has changed his tune, succumbing to the pressure by announcing Swatch's digital response to the Apple Watch.

The Blue Ocean in Switzerland

Other watchmakers like Patek Philippe and Mondaine Watch are also being forced to compete based on Apple's strength in consumer technology design. That's called Blue Ocean Strategy--where the goal isn't to beat the competition, but to make them irrelevant--and it's going to happen more frequently in the education space. (Hopefully...)

Blue Ocean Strategy is a path that more schools are considering because they recognize that their strengths and assets allow them to redefine the way they can deliver an outstanding educational experience for the students in their target market. Their value proposition is no longer defined by tradition but rather by strategic devotion to their students. The design of their schools, especially the faculty culture, reflects a devout dedication to purpose rather than compliance.

I haven't ordered my Apple Watch yet, but I'm also not a watch wearer. As an owner of an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, I'm not yet convinced that this wrist device will enhance the quality of my life or productivity. I'm also concerned about having to be in meetings where everyone is going to be "watch watching," checking the time, emails, texts, videos, etc. But still, this cool device is awfully tempting...

Topics: School Design

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