Blue Ocean Strategy – Book of the Month #13

Blue Ocean Strategy – Book of the Month #13

For this month’s “Book of the Month” initiative, the team read “Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne”, an insightful, paradigm-shifting book that challenges traditional notions of competition and provides a strategic framework to “create” new markets by simply creating your own. 

The central premise of Blue Ocean Strategy revolves around the concept of “red oceans” and “blue oceans.” Red oceans represent existing industries characterized by intense competition, cutthroat rivalry, and diminishing profits leaving the oceans of the market bloodied from conflict for market share. 

In contrast, blue oceans symbolize untapped market spaces with ample opportunities for growth and innovation. The authors argue that rather than fighting for a bigger share in existing markets, businesses should shift their focus towards creating blue oceans.

One of the book’s strengths lies in its clear and practical framework, which aids readers in understanding how to escape the constraints of traditional competition. Kim and Mauborgne introduce the “four actions framework” and the “six paths framework” to assist businesses in identifying value innovation opportunities. 

Through real-world case studies and examples from various industries, they illustrate how companies successfully ventured into blue oceans by creating exceptional customer value while simultaneously reducing costs. The team’s favourite case study was Cirque Du Soleil, which created a circus environment that is more in line with “art” versus simply something that is tacked onto low-budget carnivals.

The book also emphasizes the importance of “value innovation” as a key driver of blue ocean creation. Instead of engaging in incremental improvements within an existing market, the authors argue that companies should focus on creating a leap in value for both customers and themselves. They provide tools and guidance to help businesses uncover the most critical factors that shape buyer value, which can be combined innovatively to form a compelling value proposition.

While Blue Ocean Strategy offers invaluable insights and practical techniques for businesses seeking to chart new market territories, it does have some limitations. The authors primarily draw examples from well-known companies and may not fully explore the challenges faced by smaller businesses or startups in implementing their strategies. The principles in this book are sound, but acting on any of these is an uphill battle. If you are already established in your business, searching the horizon for a blue ocean might not be a viable strategy.

All in all, we found Blue Ocean Strategy a fantastic read that encourages businesses to break away from the status quo of fighting tooth and nail against competitors in heavily saturated markets. The authors provide a compelling argument for value innovation and offer practical tools to help organizations systematically identify and capitalize on new market opportunities. By challenging conventional thinking, this book serves as a catalyst for businesses aiming to create sustainable growth, long-term success, and a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic business landscape.

For more on Blue Ocean Strategy, check out our group discussion here:


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