Case Study Trailer

Rehability (A): The Highly Regulated German Medical Supplies Industry

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, MATHYS, Lauren


Executives in heavily regulated industries often feel their hands are tied by rules and regulations which some claim to even interfere with their ability to innovate. As such, it is not uncommon to find regulated firms competing in the same way for decades without ever challenging the status quo. The case “Rehability (A)” describes the conditions of the highly regulated medical supplies industry in Germany and shows how traditional players, bounded by the conventional logic about how to compete in such an industry, focused on providing the lowest-cost standardized products and the widest range of ancillary supplements in stores while overlooking the pain points experienced by users of these products, thereby trapping themselves in ever intensifying and price-based competition.


Rehability (B): More than Just Wheelchairs

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, MATHYS, Lauren

The case “Rehability (B)” illustrates how one firm created a blue ocean of new market space in the highly regulated and competitive German medical supplies industry in the early 1990s. By asking a different set of strategic questions, Rehability, a German medical supplies company, shifted the focus of the industry and reconstructed market boundaries by looking across the chain of buyers, across the emotional-functional orientation of the industry, and across complementary product and service offerings. In so doing, Rehability was able to uncover and address a whole set of pain points of wheelchair users, create an unprecedented offering for them and at the same time set itself on a growth trajectory even while other medical supply stores and medical supply manufacturers struggled to survive against rapidly deteriorating industry conditions.

This two-part case is accompanied by a two-part theory-based movie, available here at upon request for professors only, which reviews industry conditions and the traditional approach of the medical supplies industry and demonstrates Rehability’s strategic move to shift the orientation of the industry and create a blue ocean. Request material here. Together the theory-based movie and the case are excellent for teaching both MBAs and executives how to reconstruct an industry through the six paths framework.

Case Study: A
Case Study: B
Teaching Note: A
Teaching Note: B
Lecture Slides

Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Materials available from Harvard Business Publishing
Blue Ocean Shift | Strategy materials available from The Case Centre
We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website and continuing implies your consent - Read our full cookie policy Okay, don’t show me again