Blue Ocean Strategy: Crafting Uncontested Market Spaces

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Blue Ocean Strategy,” authored by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, revolutionizes traditional competitive business strategies. Instead of competing in saturated markets (red oceans), it advocates for the creation of new, uncontested market spaces (blue oceans). This approach encourages businesses to innovate and capture new demand, making competition irrelevant.

Understanding Blue Ocean Strategy

The core concept of Blue Ocean Strategy is the distinction between red and blue oceans. Red oceans represent all industries in existence today—the known market space. In contrast, blue oceans denote all industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition.

Key Principles of Blue Ocean Strategy

1. Value Innovation:

The cornerstone of Blue Ocean Strategy is value innovation. It requires companies to align innovation with utility, price, and cost positions, creating a leap in value for both the company and its customers.

2. The Four Actions Framework:

To reconstruct buyer value elements in crafting a new value curve, businesses should consider:

   – Eliminate: Which factors should be eliminated that the industry has long competed on?

   – Reduce: Which factors should be reduced well below the industry’s standard?

   – Raise: Which factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard?

   – Create: Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered?

3. The Strategy Canvas:

This diagnostic tool helps visualize the current competitive landscape and identify future strategies. It captures the current state of play in the known market space and allows businesses to see where competitors are investing and what factors the industry competes on.

Tools for Blue Ocean Strategy

1. Six Paths Framework:

This tool helps businesses systematically explore six different paths to create blue oceans:

   – Look across alternative industries.

   – See across strategic groups within industries.

   – Look across the chain of buyers.

   – See across complementary product and service offerings.

   – Look across functional or emotional appeal to buyers.

   – Look across time to shape trends over time.

2. The ERRC Grid:

Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid is used to push companies to pursue differentiation and low cost simultaneously.

3. The Pioneer-Migrator-Settler (PMS) Map:

This helps companies manage their portfolios by categorizing businesses or products based on their innovation level.

Implementing Blue Ocean Strategy

1. Tipping Point Leadership:

This leadership approach focuses on overcoming the key organizational hurdles that block the implementation of a blue ocean strategy. It emphasizes cognitive, resource, motivational, and political hurdles.

2. Fair Process:

Ensuring that the strategic planning process is transparent, inclusive, and based on clear communication helps in gaining buy-in and commitment from all levels of the organization.

Case Studies and Success Stories

The book presents numerous case studies of companies that successfully implemented blue ocean strategies, such as Cirque du Soleil, which redefined the circus industry by blending it with theater to appeal to a whole new audience.

Challenges and Criticisms

While Blue Ocean Strategy provides a compelling framework, it is not without its challenges and criticisms. Implementing a blue ocean strategy requires a significant shift in mindset and organizational culture, which can be difficult to achieve. Additionally, sustaining the blue ocean over time as competitors attempt to replicate the success poses another challenge.


The Book is a transformative approach to business strategy that encourages innovation and creative thinking. By focusing on creating new market spaces and making the competition irrelevant, businesses can unlock new demand and achieve sustainable growth. The tools and frameworks provided in the book offer practical guidance for businesses looking to embark on this strategic journey.

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