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Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant Hardcover – February 3, 2005


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Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant + Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers + The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591396190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591396192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (429 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kim and Mauborgne's blue ocean metaphor elegantly summarizes their vision of the kind of expanding, competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate. Unlike "red oceans," which are well explored and crowded with competitors, "blue oceans" represent "untapped market space" and the "opportunity for highly profitable growth." The only reason more big companies don't set sail for them, they suggest, is that "the dominant focus of strategy work over the past twenty-five years has been on competition-based red ocean strategies"-i.e., finding new ways to cut costs and grow revenue by taking away market share from the competition. With this groundbreaking book, Kim and Mauborgne-both professors at France's INSEAD, the second largest business school in the world-aim to repair that bias. Using dozens of examples-from Southwest Airlines and the Cirque du Soleil to Curves and Starbucks-they present the tools and frameworks they've developed specifically for the task of analyzing blue oceans. They urge companies to "value innovation" that focuses on "utility, price, and cost positions," to "create and capture new demand" and to "focus on the big picture, not the numbers." And while their heavyweight analytical tools may be of real use only to serious strategy planners, their overall vision will inspire entrepreneurs of all stripes, and most of their ideas are presented in a direct, jargon-free manner. Theirs is not the typical business management book's vague call to action; it is a precise, actionable plan for changing the way companies do business with one resounding piece of advice: swim for open waters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“This breakthrough book is essential for any strategist or entrepreneur who wants to move out of intensively competitive, shark-infested waters and into an opportunity- filled, open ocean.” — Business Insider

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Customer Reviews

This book will completely change the way we think about our businesses.
Mari Ishii
I recently read, "Blue Ocean Strategy " How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant" by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.
Jim Estill
It gives a good perspective on creating new business opportunities and provides many real world examples.
David Faoro

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

557 of 596 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on January 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The authors have published many articles over the last decade on Value Innovation. This is their first book. It summarizes their extensive knowledge on out-of-the-box strategic thinking.

What is a BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY? The authors explain it by comparing it to a red ocean strategy (traditional strategic thinking):
1. DO NOT compete in existing market space. INSTEAD you should create uncontested market space.
2. DO NOT beat the competition. INSTEAD you should make the competition irrelevant.
3. DO NOT exploit existing demand. INSTEAD you should create and capture new demand.
4. DO NOT make the value/cost trade-off. INSTEAD you should break the value/cost trade-off.
5. DO NOT align the whole system of a company's activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost. INSTEAD you should align the whole system of a company's activities in pursuit of both differentiation and low cost.

A red ocean strategy is based on traditional strategic thinking - e.g. Harvard's strategy guru Michael Porter.

Some cases:
* Airline industry price wars result in bankruptcies and low profit margins. Southwest Airlines creates a new market by offering the speed of air travel with the low cost and flexibility of driving.
* Golf equipment industry competes to win a greater share of existing golf customers. Callaway Golf creates "Big Bertha", a golf club with a large head that attracted new customers to golf that had been frustrated by the difficulty of hitting the ball.
* The cosmetic industry creates a red ocean with models, expensive advertising, and promises of youth and beauty.
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618 of 667 people found the following review helpful By B. Gilad on January 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is mostly "fluff". Its basic argument is that companies who find themselves in hotly contested markets ("red oceans") should look for uncontested markets ("blue oceans"). They should do it in such a way as to ensure revenues (so go for mass), and profit (so watch the cost). Wow. I guess if the authors said: go for high-cost-small-markets, at least it will be original! The problem with this book is that it is a mishmash of old ideas, and its mortal sin is that it is trivial. It looks at successful products and service offerings, and in retrospect identifies the characteristics that made them succeed (at least revenue wise, there is no real financial analysis in this book). Naturally, finding those characteristics is the real issue, and it is the realm of entrepreneurial vision. Beyond some trivial labels placed on common sense planning activities, Blue Ocean does not help one iota in finding uncontested markets with large profit potential. Anyone who seriously tries to apply the ideas in the book will find they are either trivial or fluff.

The lack of originality is everywhere. Let's look closer: The book main point is that companies must do different things than competitors to be in uncontested markets. Fans of Michael Porter will immediately recognize this as the theme of his seminal 1996 article "What is Strategy" (go to [...] to buy this article). Interestingly enough, Kim and Mauborgne published their first work on value innovation in...yes, 1997. Porter identified three bases for successful strategies: need-based, variety-based, and access-based. Unlike the authors of Blue Ocean, he did not pretend to have an a priori formula for finding success. All he did was to show what makes a superior strategy, and why superior strategies are sustainable over a long period of time.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Zdzislaw Nagengast on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The authors, regular contributors to the Harvard Business Review, have created a book from their previous writings. It's a nice little book, easy to read, with breezy overviews of hand picked examples but totally derivative. However, the authors are 1000% correct in their fundamental points:

It's better to find uncontested market space

Your competition does become irrelevant - for a while.

Create and capture new demand.

Break the value/cost trade-off.

Align a company's whole system of activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost.

Only one small problem with above - it's hard to do and they offer no real insights into the how. In fact they only devote a handful of pages to the most important aspect of strategy and that is execution of the strategy. That's a serious shortcoming of the book.

I wish they did a better analysis of companies that tried to follow this strategy and failed. That would have been very insightful. I also wish that they weren't so superficial in their examples. Case in point: they reference Southwest Airlines and state that the change they instituted was a result of eliminating meals, and eliminating reservations. They did do those things but they were the icing, not the cake. They never once mention the real reasons they were so disruptive to the industry; Southwest abandoned the traditional hub and spoke model, they maximized the utilization rate of the planes by faster airport turnaround and they changed the labor paradigm dominant in the industry.

They also didn't spend enough time discussing the fact that executing this strategy cannot create a sustainable competitive advantage. They admit to this and discuss the Body Shop as one example.
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