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Blue Ocean Strategy

Blue Ocean Strategy is growth strategy framework focused on the idea of creating an uncontested market space--i.e. a "blue ocean." This framework is very innovative, as its principles challenge the conventional business strategy principles of fighting competitors head-on. The Blue Ocean Strategy framework evolved from a framework called Value Innovation developed by Kim and Mauborgne in the late 90s.

            Source: Harvard Business Review, C. Kim, R. Mauborgne (1997)

Flevy is the marketplace for premium business documents, such as business frameworks, PowerPoint templates, financial models, and more. We have several documents on Innovation Strategy:

More details about these documents can be found at the bottom of this page. Take a look at our Innovation Management business toolkit.

Blue Ocean vs. Red Ocean. What's the meaning behind the name?

In red oceans, our efforts are focused on the conventional logic that we must outpace the competition with a better solution to a given problem. Blue ocean strategy invites us to redefine the problem itself. It does so by breaking the value-cost trade-off in view of creating new uncontested market places. Places where no one has been and where we would be the one defining the rules!

The Analytical Tools & Frameworks

The strategy canvas is both the start and the end point of a Blue Ocean Strategy formulation. An initial value curve depicts where the industry competes on and invests in. It is then transformed via the eliminate-reduce-raise-create actions framework. The resulting value curve shows a focused effort that diverges from existing market offerings and can be easily translated into a compelling tagline.

Core Underlying Principles

Venturing beyond an existing industry space implies a series of risks. The blue ocean strategy approach to strategy is based on six principles that cater for the major risks of a new market creation project: search risk, planning risk, scale risk, business model risk, organizational risk and management risk. Together, they define the underlying philosophy of blue oceans.

Value Innovation

At the heart of Blue Ocean Strategy, we have concept of Value Innovation. Value without innovation tends to focus on value creation on an incremental scale, i.e. something that improves value but is not sufficient to make us really stand out in the marketplace. Innovation without value tends to be technology-driven, market pioneering, or futuristic, often shooting beyond what buyers are ready to accept and pay for.

Value innovation occurs only if we align innovation with utility, price, and cost positions. The focus here is not time-to-market, bleeding-edge technology or best practices. It is the ambition to break one of the most commonly accepted dogmas of competition-based strategy: the value-cost trade-off.

It is conventionally believed that companies can either create greater value to customers at a higher cost, or create reasonable value at a lower cost. Here, strategy is seen as making a choice between differentiation and cost. In contrast, to create blue oceans, we need to pursue differentiation and low cost simultaneously, by looking within and beyond our industry boundaries and redefining a market altogether.

Instead of focusing on beating the competition, value innovation focuses on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for buyers and our company, thereby opening up new and uncontested market space. The objective here is not to increase our competitiveness in the market as we know it. Rather, it is to create a whole new market where the rules of the games are yet to be created, by us!

You can learn more about this strategy framework, including analytical tools and case studies, in the three showcased documents below in blue.

  Innovation Toolkit - A Playbook for Innovation Blueprint

This toolkit contains a series of templates that are designed to capture the key elements of a innovative idea. It is intended to a be a live document that is updated as you go through the discovery journey from idea to a revenue generating concept. Each framework has key concepts that need to be captured in order to fully explore validity of the innovation.


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  Business Model Innovation

Innovative business models can reshape industries and drive tremendous growth. However, many organization find business model innovation difficult. The framework outlined in this presentation explains a structured process to innovating your business model. Topics covered in customer value proposition, profit formula, and key resources & processes.


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  Innovation Management Executive Market Report (2014)

The innovation management service market has experienced a huge growth in recent years. The new Innovation Management Executive Market Report is your compass for understanding the landscape, as well as for providing key insights to the ability to navigate in the future. The report is based on a series of surveys and interviews with over 500 innovation management service providers and interviews with innovation experts.


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