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A Summary and Critical Analysis of Kim and Mauborgnes Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy, a book by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, develops and explains how to crush the competition by making beyond it into new undiscovered markets. The writers use the metaphor of the bluish ocean as a direct contrast to ruddy oceans. Red oceans are the battling evidences for typical market competition where houses fight for an already defined and stagnate market. Blue oceans, on the other manus, depict a scheme that breaks off from the blood ruddy ocean into clear, chartless oceans, or new markets ( see Appendix A for the inside informations of the differences ) . The writers studied the concern launches of 108 companies, more than 150 strategic moves from 1880 to 2000, and more than 30 industries to bring out the cardinal traits and patterns of what they call “ Blue Ocean Strategy. ”

Kicking off the book with four analytical tools that promise to assist houses happen and work untapped markets, the writers offer a measure by measure attack, comprised of six rules, on how to interrupt away from the competition of ruddy oceans and put to death a bluish ocean scheme. They show how and why a blue ocean scheme leads to a market where competition is – for a clip – obsolete. Each rule is explained and supported by existent universe illustrations from such companies as Ford, Cirque du Soleil, Dell Computers, Casella Wines, and even the New York City Police Department. The chart, figure 1, illustrates both the construct of bluish ocean schemes, and the organisation of the book, Blue Ocean Strategies.

The first portion of the book explains what Kim and Mauborgne call the basis of Blue Ocean Schemes: value invention. Value invention is fundamentally a spring in value that makes current competition irrelevant. Whereas value entirely simply extends the value of an bing market, and invention entirely can frequently “ shoot beyond what purchasers are ready to accept and pay for ” ( p. 13 ) , value invention ground tackles invention with public-service corporation, monetary value, and cost by interrupting the typical value-cost tradeoff.

The writers offer several analytical tools to assist measure a company ‘s location on the ocean – be that ruddy or bluish – and to assist them travel toward the bluish ocean. The first of such tools is the scheme canvas, which captures the current market competition, particularly the factors that the industry competes and invests in. Further inside informations of the scheme canvas and how it works can be found in Appendix B. The Four Actions Framework and the Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid ( appendix C ) , are used together to bring out ways to cut down cost while increasing value. While the Four Actions Framework detects and organizes the factors into one of four classs – eliminate, cut down, raise, and create, the Grid itself outlines the actions planned to extinguish, cut down, raise, and create. The 4th tool is simply three inquiries to guarantee that the program is genuinely a bluish ocean scheme. These inquiries are, does the program have a focal point, does the new value curve ( appendix A ) from the Strategy canvas diverge from the market competition, and eventually, is at that place a compelling tagline to depict the new program?

The writers so take the reader through a six measure attack to developing and put to deathing bluish ocean schemes. The first measure is to Reconstruct the Market Boundaries, which involves analysing the current market in such a manner that the blue oceans become evident. Offering six different waies of attack, this measure attempts to cover with the ability to “ successfully place, out of the hayrick of possibilities that exist, commercially obliging bluish ocean chances ” ( p. 47 ) . The waies are straight in struggle with traditional concern schemes ( appendix D ) . Following at least one of these waies literally expands the boundaries of the defined markets and uncovers new solutions for a house to make.

The 2nd measure is to reframe the scheme by utilizing the scheme canvas to concentrate on the large image. The writers claim that traditionally directors “ spend the bulk of strategic thought clip make fulling in boxes and running Numberss alternatively of believing outside the box and developing a clear image of how to interrupt from the competition ” ( p. 82 ) . The scheme canvas, harmonizing to the book, unlocks creativeness, reveals blue oceans, and, because of the visuals, creates an easy to understand and pass on scheme.

The 3rd rule, or measure, is to maximise the new market potency by making beyond current market demands and concentrating on the potency of the three grades of non-customers. The first tier non-customers is described as those clients who are n’t committed to the merchandise or service offered and are looking for replacements or options. The 2nd grade clients are labeled, “ declining non-customers ” ( p. 107 ) , who either find the product/service unacceptable or can non afford it. Third tier non-customers are “ undiscovered ” ( p. 109 ) because their demands are assumed to belong to other markets. Concentrating on the commonalties of non-customers to clients will purportedly assist houses set up insight into possible bluish oceans.

Step four is to construct the concern theoretical account, or Get the Strategic Sequence Right. Here the writers explore ways to guarantee that the bluish ocean really pays off. There are four ways to prove the new scheme to see if it is feasible and each manner must be done in order, get downing with exceeding public-service corporation, monetary value, cost, and stoping with acceptance. To prove the exceeding public-service corporation of a product/service, the writers recommend utilizing the Buyer Utility Map ( p. 121 ) which breaks down client experience into six stairss from purchase to disposal, and so interrupt down public-service corporation. Puting the monetary value involves analyzing non merely the monetary values of products/services within the industry, but besides the industry options and taking either low or high depending on how easy a rival can copy the new product/service. Rather than leting cost to order monetary value, the book suggests utilizing monetary value to order a mark cost because it will purportedly forestall rivals from copying – and crushing the house in it ‘s new bluish coean. This equation besides helps houses assess dearly-won factors and operations, and may even take to be redemptive inventions altering the pricing theoretical account from selling to leasing as Blockbuster did with videotapes ( p. 135 ) . The 4th measure is cut downing the fright and opposition alteration necessarily brings employees, spouses and the general populace. This measure, labeled “ acceptance ” trades with educating these groups so that they are on board and supportive.

Get the better ofing Key Organization Hurdles is the 5th rule or measure to accomplishing a bluish ocean scheme, but it is the first measure to really put to deathing it. The writers deal with common organisational hurdlings – opposition from employees, the deficiency of resources, the deficiency of motive, and the internal and external political opposition – by working the construct of “ tipping point leading ” . Tiping point leading focuses on “ identifying and so leveraging the factors of disproportional influence in an organisation ” ( 151 ) . The writers describe several techniques to carry through this ( see appendix F for more inside informations ) .

The concluding measure to set uping a bluish ocean scheme is to put to death it within the house utilizing just procedures – or complete transparence – to guarantee an environment of trust and committedness exists. The book claims that merely this sort of environment facilitates the trust, cooperation, and motive for any scheme, but particularly a bluish ocean scheme, to win. Without it even the best planned schemes supposedly can and will neglect.

Critical Analysis

By concentrating on the survey of strategic moves instead than specific companies or industries, Blue Ocean Strategy claims to hold unveiled the key to success for companies across industries. While the book does carry through its promise to depict how and why bluish ocean schemes work, it fails to make a complete and feasible program. Where and why it fails has non been widely recognized perchance because the construct of the work is so appealing and the truth of its descriptions and illustrations are so apparent. And yet, the scheme skips or oversimplifies many practical stairss and makes unsupported premises. A closer looks exposes how the several stairss are truly the same measure reworded to look like a complete strategic program when it may merely be a utile tool toward a scheme and nil more. When whittled down to its existent necessities, the full “ scheme ” depends to a great extent on advanced heads, strong personalities, utmost market intuition and cognition, and may even merely depict a natural accruing concern phenomenon.

First and first, the book does supply an first-class survey of the forms and tendencies of successful strategic moves. Using extremely evident illustrations such Ford ‘s Model T, Blockbuster ‘s pick to lease instead than sell, Apple ‘s creative activity of the Personal computer, and more, the writers clearly illustrate that success comes from the finds and development of bluish ocean, or untapped, markets. The analysis of what made these inventions successful is besides fascinating. In this manner, the thought of seeking out bluish oceans is helpful.

However, following the stairss and utilizing the tools will most probably non unfastened new markets if a house lacks the invention, the financess to back up research and development, the selling art to convey it to the populace efficaciously, and the leader personality needed for strategic executing. These of import and practical stairss are virtually ignored in the book. Although making a compelling tagline is helpful, even necessary, to successful selling, it ‘s barely the lone selling measure necessary to bring forth consequences. The book, nevertheless, does do it look as though this is true. As one disparager quipped,

… when you begin to put to death on a bluish ocean chance, there is one thing you know for certain: Your rivals are coming. However, an effectual selling scheme helps you increase your market portion and support it from your rivals. Without a selling scheme, certain, you will make a bluish ocean, but while you ‘re out at that place, all by yourself in that unfastened H2O, you wo n’t be the market leader ; you ‘ll be chum. ( Pollard, ,2005 ) .

Of class, the book does cover with such menaces as competition to blue ocean schemes. The writers cover the menace of competitory impersonators, who steal thoughts, by discoursing competitory pricing, speedy executing to make a bombilation and market trueness, and patents. Plus, the really nature of the bluish ocean frequently immobilizes possible rivals. The illustration given in the book is The Body Shop ( Kim & A ; Mauborgne, 2005 p. 186 ) . But Pallard ‘s chief ailment is the book ‘s failure to advert the demand for existent and thorough selling, a valid and worthy expostulation. For illustration, none of the inventions described would hold reached the new markets without effectual selling. The mere taglines entirely for Cirque du Soleil would non hold resulted in 1000s of grownups buying tickets. Alternatively, advertisement and selling runs created an consciousness and the market to back up the bluish ocean created by Cirque du Soleil.

The other premise is that every concern will hold a readily available bluish ocean to tap into necessitating largely strategic idea. However, most of the largest successes are due to invention. Even though invention is non the lone manner to seek and happen bluish oceans, it is a strong factor in the success of bluish ocean schemes. In the illustration of the theoretical account T the bluish ocean could non hold been found without the advanced assembly line. Apple could non hold created the Personal computer without the advanced engineering behind it. The focal point on scheme entirely without the strength of invention behind it may be merely every bit bootless as benchmarking monetary values against the competition, and yet this seems to be what the book is urging. Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth professor of direction at Dartmouth College ‘s Tuck School of Business, was quoted to state ( Mattioli, 2005 ) : “ If you can happen these new countries the net income potency is better than viing in a well-developed market place. ” Which is to state, there is a possibility that a house wo n’t happen the new countries, particularly without unleashing the inventions and the heads behind them.

In their book, Execution ( 2002 ) , Bossidy and Charan describe in item the sort of personality it takes to implement alteration within a concern construction. Using many illustrations of existent universe CEO ‘s and their first manus experiences, the writers outline the traits, the relationships, and the procedures of successful leaders. Harmonizing to the survey, leading success is based on the strength of the leader ‘s character, their bent for coaching, and inquiring the proper inquiries. Conversely, Blue Ocean Strategy oversimplifies the executing stairss by concentrating about wholly on procedure and neglecting to explicate the necessary communicating and coaching manners necessary to do this measure meaningful.

Furthermore, although non all inventions require immense financess to be invested into research & A ; development, many do. One article ( Columbus, 2005 ) , trades with the thought that companies could purchase their manner to blue oceans by concentrating on R & A ; D. Theoretically, this is possible, but it does overlook some of import cautiousnesss of the Blue Ocean Strategy. The book warns against invention for invention ‘s interest because the new merchandise can lose the market by supplying a service or merchandise the populace is n’t ready to pay for. Besides, the writers emphasize the importance of keeping the delicate balance between monetary value and cost. Therefore, dumping money into R & A ; D, although it can finally happen a bluish ocean, will non guarantee success. In fact, it about ensures failure. One of the key, and most of import rules of the scheme is the demand to place the viability of an thought before puting financess in its development.

And yet, the bluish ocean scheme topographic points so much accent on invention that it is n’t surprising that some patterns will ensue in an complete accent on R & A ; D support. It begs the inquiry about what came foremost: the invention or the market demand. The book seems to presume the best manner to manage invention is to detect a market demand for it foremost. Although in world, pioneers do n’t ever work on a market need footing. But what would the universe of invention expression like if it were ever and invariably driven by the hunt for bluish oceans? Would innovation and the genuinely advanced become disused, swallowed whole by concern gurus and selling masterminds?

The chief job with the scheme – as it is defined in the book – is it is ( or was ) non needfully used by any of the illustrations illustrated in the book. The writers assume that because a company did so happen a bluish ocean and ensuing success, so utilizing the scheme in the book will take a company to similar success. But how can this decision be drawn when no where in the book did any one company utilize the measure by measure attack or the tools? Alternatively, the writers have simply applied general constructs and common tendencies of the bluish ocean to work backwards into a theoretical, unseasoned scheme.

To do affairs worse, the stairss themselves are convoluted and overworked, frequently merely reiterating the same constructs in different words. For illustration, the sub-step to principle four, constructing a concern theoretical account is acceptance, which is acquiring employees, spouses, and the populace on board ( p. 137-39 ) . Yet, principle five trades precisely with acceptance, merely it is described as get the better ofing hurdlings ( 147-169 ) Principle two, utilizing the scheme canvas as a ocular waking up, ocular geographic expedition, a scheme carnival, and a communicating tool to win over the support of employees ( 94-96 ) is basically the same thing as rule five, rousing the demand as a manner of get the better ofing what the writers label cognitive obstructions ( 151-155 ) . Reconstructing the market boundaries, rule one, is the same as making beyond the bing demand, principle three. The really footings are basically the same thing. Reconstructing the market is reasonably much when houses address the possible demands of the three grades of non-customers described in rule three. Likewise, the Four Actions Framework and Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid are the same tool. The Framework, in theory, pushes the house to inquire the inquiries, while the Grid pushes houses to move on the points. It seems excess to make a model that asks the inquiries and to make a grid that answers them. Why is n’t it merely one tool? These redundancies are merely a few illustrations of many. Furthermore, although these tools are considered “ cardinal to creative activities of bluish oceans ” ( p. 35 ) , it seems improbable that any of the successful illustrations used them. In short, the whole book could be summed up in the really first chapter where value invention is explained because value invention is non the basis of bluish ocean scheme – it is bluish ocean scheme.

Although bluish oceans enable a house to derive uncontested market infinite, it is merely for a clip that this is so. Sooner or subsequently, competition does run into up with the market leader. In most of the illustrations given in the book, this does of course go on and it leads one to chew over whether or non the Blue Ocean Strategy illustrated in different industries and in different centuries, is so a scheme or merely a natural phenomenon of market growing. Like development in nature, one individual species mutates into a more effectual illustration of biological science. As one editorialist commented “ Mauborgne ‘s Blue Ocean can rapidly turn ruddy. For illustration, Barnes & A ; Noble developed superstores in the ninetiess that are about identical from Boundary lines ” ( Stewart, 2007 ) . Could it be that the writers of Blue Ocean Strategy took an economic given and turned it into something governable when it genuinely is a inquiry of the right head being aligned to the right clip and the right market?

Appendix A: Red versus Blue Oceans

Blue Ocean Strategy

Red Ocean Strategy


Strive to make uncontested market infinite for untapped consumers

Continues to conflict over an bing market portion

Breaks off from competition

Strives to crush the competition

Identifies and successfully targets the demand for a new demand

Feats the bing demand

Breaks the value-cost tradeoff by increasing value and increasing distinction and film editing or keeping cost

Adheres to value-cost tradeoff by taking between take downing costs, or distinguishing products/services


Advanced new products/services

Supply exceeds demand

Trouble distinguishing trade names

Net income and gross additions

Decline in monetary values, gross, and net income

Appendix B: Strategy Canvas Basics

The cardinal constituents a feasible scheme canvas include a focal point, a divergency from the common value curve, and a compelling tagline to depict the new scheme. The scheme canvas is a graph that maps out the viing factors of an industry based on a high/low perpendicular entree that coordinates with the factors across the horizontal entree. The ensuing co-ordinates create a curve, labeled the value curve. A feasible graph illustrates a strong focal point on a few cardinal factors, instead than all of them. The arrangement of co-ordinates should non follow the value curve of the industry in general ; alternatively, it should diverge from that curve, holding its ain alone curve. Finally, it should be easy to depict the graph with a short and compelling tagline, which shows that the scheme can present a clear meaningful message ( Kim & A ; Mauborgne, 2005 p. 37-41 ) . Figure 2, below, illustrates a scheme canvas that diverges from the norm.



Consumer Value Factors

Rivals Curve

New Value Curve





A New Value CurveAppendix C Four Actions Framework and Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid

The Four Actions Framework categorizes the factors into one of four groups: eliminate, cut down, raise, and create. The first two classs help cut costs. Kim and Mauborgne maintain that industries take the importance of certain factors for granted even though these factors may no longer be relevant in the market. If that is the instance, the writers suggest extinguishing these factors from the new scheme. Over-design, over-delivery, and over-serving are similar in that the merchandise or service offers value that is non perceived by the client. This is a consequence of benchmark viing – invariably endeavoring to out make the competition. These are the factors the writer recommend cut downing. The following two groups help make or increase client value by raising factors that in their current low province force clients to compromise their demands, and by making new beginnings value wholly. The Grid works with the Framework because it forces houses to hold actionable points in each of the four groups ( ( Kim & A ; Mauborgne, 2005 p. 29-37 ) .

Appendix D: Waies to Blue Oceans and Examples

Traditional Business Market Analysis

Blue Ocean Market Analysis

Strive to be the best within a defined industry.

Focus on what makes clients seek alternate industries to work out the same job.

Strive to put itself apart in the strategic group of industry.

Focus on what makes clients merchandise up or down within a group, such as luxury points to dicker points.

Focus on defined purchaser group.

Study the concatenation of purchasers and inquiry who can and should be the mark purchaser outside the defined purchaser group.

Define range of merchandises and services offered similar to the manner rivals define it.

Aim to work out the major “ hurting points ” in clients ‘ entire solution, before, during, and after purchase.

Accept the industry ‘s functional or emotional orientation of selling.

See unwraping from tradition by appealing to the opposite orientation.

Focus on the same point in clip in scheme preparation.

Study how tendencies may alter value over clip, or make new value.

One way is to seek across industry options to happen out why clients choose to utilize an alternate solution – defined as “ merchandises or services that have different maps or signifiers but serve the same intent ” ( p. 49 ) . The writers use Home Depot as an illustration where the latent market of do-it-yourself place betterment was tapped into by supplying the supplies combined with this market ‘s demand for adept cognition ( p. 55 ) . Another way, seeking across groups within an industry, was explained through the illustration of Curves, a adult females ‘s merely fittingness centre that focused on the different grounds adult females choose to fall in traditional wellness nines as opposed to adult females who choose place exercising plans. The way uncovered the latent demand for a speedy, private, and simple exercise done in a group with lone adult females.

Appendix F: Tiping Point Leadership Techniques

Blue Ocean Strategy breaks down the key techniques to successfully put to deathing tipping point leading. The first hurdle described in the 5th rule is the cognitive hurdle, or the involuntariness of the people of a house to acknowledge the demand for alteration. Tiping point leader handles this obstruction by avoiding unmeaningful Numberss, and alternatively “ doing people see and see harsh world foremost manus ” ( p. 152 ) . This creates an internally goaded mentality. To manage issues of resource allotment, the writers identify hot musca volitanss, cold musca volitanss and Equus caballus trading. Hot musca volitanss indicate where resources are missing, cold musca volitanss indicate where they are abundant, and Equus caballus trading reallocates them in a manner that his carnival acceptable to both parties. The usage top bananas, fishbowl direction and atomisation trade with issues of motive. Concentrating on top bananas is merely winning over the natural leaders within the substructure who are respected and persuasive and who will in the terminal convert others to the new scheme. Fishbowl managing is puting these cardinal participants under a magnifying glass for their equals to measure, exposing short approachs and making instant motive for public presentation. Atomization breaks down ends into easier to make stairss. The achievability is self honoring. To get the better of political hurdlings, the writers recommend “ leveraging angels, hushing Satans and acquiring a consiglierge on the top direction squad. Angels, harmonizing to the book, are those who believe in the demand for alteration or who will straight profit from it. Satans are those who have the most to lose from the alteration. A consiglierge is an insider who knows who the Satans and angels are and how to cover with them.

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