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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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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Blue ocean strategy is about creating an organizational strategy that is not based on the competition but based on finding a new market. The book consists of three parts: 1) Overview, 2) Formulating a strategy, 3) Executing the strategy.
The first part defines Blue Ocean strategies and gives several examples of where companies have created a blue ocean. It also introduces several tools that are useful for analyzing markets and that might enable finding a blue ocean (which they call unlock a blue ocean).
The second part talks about how to formulate blue ocean strategies. It shows how to the the strategy canvas for mapping out the current markets and how to break out of these by eliminating or enhancing factors of the product. Also it covers how to look beyond customers and find out how to create new customers by delivering additional value (which is what they name value innovation).
The last part covers the execution of a strategy (which was the part I liked least). The authors realize that a strategy without execution won't be too beneficial, but realize there are certain common obstacles for executing a blue ocean strategy, especially related to the organization. They give examples of how you can overcome these hurdles.
The book was ok written. I felt it was a bit dry at times. The case studies were pretty good, but they were all retrospectively. That is also what bothered me most about the book, which is the authors have analyzed many cases and then created a process about how such a strategy could have been created. But in most cases, I guess, the tools from this book were probably not used as the road from strategy to execution doesn't go in the nicely defined steps the authors describe (at least, not in my experience). This caused a feeling that the book was too theoretical. It isn't a bad book but it was definitively not a 'yeah' book either. I wouldn't quickly recommend it except for people intensely interested in strategy. So, just three stars.
There is no such thing as riskless strategy. Strategy always has to involve both opportunity and risk but the present playing field is dramatically unbalanced in favour of tools and analytical frameworks exceeded in existing businesses. As long as this remains true, existing businesses will continue to dominate companiesâ(tm) strategic agenda even if it is a business imperative for creating new initiatives and takes on a new urgency.
One thing that I like about the book is that it uses multiple examples of companies who have revolutionized the industry that they are in by creating brand new markets and brand new spaces. For example, they talk about the automobile business moving from the Model T to General Motors, to small fuel efficient Japanese cars to the Chrysler mini-van, etc.
One of the most interesting stories was about the Japanese hair cut that used to cost $40 to $50 and included everything from a shoulder and scalp massage to shampoo, etc., but generally took an hour and subjected the customers to long waits. When a chain of barber shops went into Japan offering no appointments and traditional haircutting like we are accustomed to in North America, the chain thrived in a big way.
This example explains part of what the book proposes. The key is to look at what is really being offered and look at what parts you can dramatically improve. Often you can end up with lower costs while at the same time adding more value to the customer. In the case of the barbershop, they were able to reduce the cost by not having to spend as long on each customer, not serving tea, etc. While at the same time, reducing the customers' waiting time which is an important commodity. The customers were not valuing the extras as much as they were valuing having their hair cut.
Great thesis/theory. Tougher implement though. Good because it makes you think though.
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