Book Review: Blue Ocean Strategy

BlueOcean

BlueOcean

As promised some three weeks ago, another book was read and will not be reviewed! This time I had the pleasure of reading the “Blue Ocean Strategy” that as its subtitle promises, will help its readers “create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant“! This was quite a promise and an eye-opener for me when I first came across this book and I have to say that for sure the book delivers on its promise!

First of all, allow me to copy part of the dedicated wiki page so that you know what this book is about at a glance. Blue Ocean Strategy is a book published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Professors at INSEAD and Co-Directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a hundred years and thirty industries, Kim & Mauborgne argue that companies can succeed not by battling competitors, but rather by creating ″blue oceans″ of uncontested market space. They assert that these strategic moves create a leap in value for the company, its buyers, and its employees, while unlocking new demand and making the competition irrelevant.

The book is filled with wonderful and easy to comprehend examples of companies and products that did create blue oceans in the middle of blood-red, competition-intense industries. The book starts with a description on how blue oceans can be created and one thing that I held on from this part was the notion of “value innovation“. I really liked the notion behind it that competition is not part of your strategy to dominate the market, but rather how you can create a “lean in value” for buyers and therefore your company.

In the next chapters, a set of analytical tools and frameworks are presented that can be used by founding teams and individual entrepreneurs to study their markets closely but also to develop their products in respect to the customers’ needs. Personal highlights were the “Strategy Canvas”, the “Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create Grid” and the “Six Paths Framework” that can be used to redefine a market’s boundaries.

Overall, altough this book is by no means a “do-it-all” guide for a startup, it definitely offers really useful insight on an area that not many startups focus on, that is the market behind the product/service you want to launch and how you can study it better, understand it better and ultimately find a sweet spot in it for your product/service. It was a really easy read with no technical “mumbo-jumbo” and lots of illustrative examples from known industries that can easily work as inspiration points for all of you that will decide to invest the time in reading this book.

I haven’t decided on the next book yet, so any suggestions are more than welcome!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review Nikos; the “Blue Ocean Strategy” book looks really interesting and I have a feeling that it might be combined with the “Crossing the Chasm” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Chasm) that I am currently reading.
    After reading your review I would like to take a look at the book and explore ways of combining the different approaches described in both of them; I have a feeling that this might be possible 🙂

    Reply

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