Blue Ocean Strategy has been described as a must read for all business students. A lot has been written about it and I would have said practically everything had been said about it until I looked up the book on Amazon to see the current price.
According to the book seller, the people who bought this book also bought “How to Become an Alpha Male – Attract Women and become successful at seduction.” I am still trying to work out the link!
Strategy, blue ocean, red ocean, competition, market share,
The central idea of “Blue ocean strategy” has become very prominent since it was written in 2003.
Companies, it claims, spend too much time fighting for the same customers in the same markets, the so called red, ‘bloodied’ oceans. The authors claim that the dominant logic in firms over the past few decades has been competition-based red ocean strategies. They have followed a mainly Porterian logic of cost cutting and taking market share from their competitors. If they really want to succeed they should look for new blue oceans i.e. they should offer new products and services or find new customers. By moving into this “untapped market space” companies can find “opportunity for highly profitable growth.”
As the authors say, there is nothing new about this. General Motors, unable to compete with the low cost of the Model T Ford find new customers by differentiating under the slogan ‘A car for every purpose.’
More recently, South West Airlines, Ryan Air and Easy Jet have all created new customers with their low cost model. Cirque du Soleil and Starbucks have grown by offering a different value proposition to their customers. Their message is that companies should focus on the big picture rather than just the numbers and an immediate return on investment.
The book is also nicely summarized in this short video.
So, should you buy the book? Well, it is an excellent study based on 100 years of competition and 30 different industries. It is also quite a nice read. Indeed, their ideas are so clearly put and so logical that it is hardly surprising that it is so often quoted it strategy meetings. It is probably a good idea to at least know what your boss is talking about what he goes in a rant about needing to “get the hell out of the red ocean and into a blue one.” And if you like having books to refer to it is a nice one to have.
However, most of the ideas can be understood from the HBR article of the same name (though the book will give you much more information on strategic execution.) If your business school or university has a search engine such as ABI Proquest or Business Source Completeyou can download it for free. (Don’t worry, your library has paid a small fortune for these search engines, so it in NOT stealing!)
If you really want to buy the book, perhaps you could ostentatiously read it while you’re waiting for a job interview. Take your time before putting in into your bag when you finally get called in. Be careful though, you might just get asked why you haven’t read it before! Still, if you don’t get the job you can always go back to reading “How to Become an Alpha Male – Attract Women and become successful at seduction.”
Interesting quotes from the book:
“The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.”
“In red oceans, the industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.”
“Instead of focusing on beating the competition, they focus on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and your company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space.”
“Value innovation is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not ‘given’ and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.”
“To fundamentally shift the strategy canvas of an industry, you must begin by reorienting your strategic focus from competitors to alternatives, and from customers to non-customers of an industry.”
Business School Grenoble EM International Affairs Higher Education ESC Grenoble Strategy Blog Global Ed Graduate Business School Mark Thomas
Other Book Reviews
Ribbonfarm: “I don’t usually write strongly negative reviews of books, because most of the time, when you encounter a bad book, it is usually obviously bad from page 1 on. Intelligent readers don’t need help figuring that out. Blue Ocean Strategy is a bad book.”
Joe Grant’s Blog: “Blue ocean strategy is when an organization breaks away from the conventional approach to facilitate the creation of new uncontested market space thereby making competition irrelevant. To create a blue ocean strategy, organizations must be committed to value innovation. The authors stress that “value” and “innovation” must work together simultaneously in order to develop a blue ocean strategy.”
In the Limelight: “Each chapter is extremely in depth and contains real actions steps to take, and includes a wealth of flow charts and graphs which are not only helpful, but easy to understand. Case studies are interwoven into the text, so you never find yourself bored, or overwhelmed by the details.”
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|A Summary of the book (though it helps if you have read it).||One of the best strategy books I have read in a long time.||Discussion on some of the key issues in strategic management. The book requires some background knowledge of the subject.|