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on 1 March 2016
Blue Ocean Strategy is a systematic approach to finding innovative, cost efficient, value adding, product-market matches. Rather than starting from a completely blank slate and attempting to design a new product based on constraints as design thinking might, Blue Ocean Strategy starts from the current product & market, and asks what attributes you should increase and decrease, and chat you should borrow from substitute products.

A clear and effective process, that can lead to unique positions
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This is an excellent book for helping you to think in a more tangible way about differentiating a business or a new product innovation.

It's easy to say "you must be different" but this book helps you to think through those differences in terms of what customers value when they are buying and consuming a product or service.

It also helps you to think through innovations by looking across different markets like substitute solutions and complementary products that are bought with, before or after the product.

It presents practical tools to help you to think about your business and the opportunities for creating different products but, as always, even good tools can be used badly. Success still depends on insight, inspiration and perspiration.

I also think the red ocean / blue ocean analogy is powerful in that it warns against me-too copying, even if it is a little corny. You may not get into the blue ocean but purple is often enough to give customers a genuine choice that wins the preference of some buyers.

Some of the case studies have been used elsewhere and if you read a lot of business books, it can get repetitive but I tend to prefer to read about businesses and products that I know about since I can relate them to my previous opinions and challenge or accept what's written. There is a newer version of the book which I haven't yet read although I intend to. I'm not yet sure whether there's enough new material of sufficient to justify the extra the extra cost.
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on 28 June 2012
For me Blue Ocean Strategy provided a challenging perspective of strategy, albeit one that I embraced quite readily. The colour metaphor that characterised this perspective of strategy, was what attracted my interest and drew me to this book in the first place. And I was not disappointed. It was different from anything I had read and have been taught about strategy before. And it made sense in hindsight, seeing why companies like Dell, despite being small was able to compete, sorry not compete, but survive and thrive in the same product market as the mighty IBM without necessarily being in the same market space, if you get the pun.

The premise on which the Blue Ocean Strategy thesis is built, is a simple one. Create a new market space through innovating on the value you give to the customer. This, the authors refer to as the cornerstone of the Blue Ocean Strategy. I must confess that value innovation on a first read sounds counter intuitive to the twin principles of either competing on being different and expensive (differentiation), or being like everyone else and selling cheaper (cost leadership).

But once you get your head around it as they say in England, then it is quite straight forward following the formulation principles outlined so beautifully in the book. The first principle of reconstructing market boundaries can sound very daunting to a new comer to the field of strategy, since in standard red ocean strategy arena, market boundaries come as given. And yet it is the very act of thinking about reconstructing the existing market boundaries that gives birth to thoughts and strategies for creating your value innovation. It is this reconstruction that allows you to focus on the big picture, instead of the numbers, which is the next formulation principle in your Blue Ocean Strategy toolkit.

The next two principles ; reaching beyond existing demand and getting the strategic sequence right are just plasters that hold your reconstructed market boundaries and value innovation together. So also are the four action framework of eliminate, reduce, raise and create industry factors in order to create this new value for your customer. In addition, the authors provide three characteristics of a good strategy to guide your journey. You are advised to ensure that your value curve has a focus, it diverges from other industry players, and finally, that you need a compelling tagline. Creating strategies could not be simpler. If only someone had told me this when I first started out trying to do strategies.

There are plenty of examples of companies that have wittingly or unwittingly created strategies that the authors have identified as Blue Ocean and provided a theoretical underpinning for them and most importantly demonstrated that it possible to systematically recreate them or indeed create new ones. So, go ahead jump into the blue ocean and start creating some Blue Ocean Strategies. The world of crafting strategies as Henry Mintzberg prefers to put it can never be the same again.
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on 29 January 2015
They sold 4 million copies and the book was translated in many languages, so it cannot be just anoter book on strategy. There are many comments about Blue Ocean strategy, some of them summarize the book quite well. The Blue Ocean is both a theory and a methodology to implement the strategy and test its relevance. So it is not just a descriptive book about strategy, but also contains a "toolbox". I think many innovations can be derived from this strategy, and even if some are built intuitively, the Blue Ocean approach has the advantage of structuring it. Giving a formal structure to something you build intuitively allows to take the maximum out of it.
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on 20 July 2010
"There are many idustries that are now at saturatiojn and the competition continues to increase. The result is a fight to the death and sadly many business owners go out of business in this blood bath which the book calls the RED Ocean. The alternative is to look for a BLUE Ocean where there are many customers wating for you to meet their needs and there is no competition! Now this sounds too good to be true but the book gives examples of some of the toughest industires out there where companies have broken free from the crowds and discovered uncontested market space. The book takes you through a number of steps you can introduce to your company to have the same success as the companies in the book. Whether you are in a red ocean or an industry where there is less competition this book is a must - first class!"
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on 4 September 2008
This is a highly influential and important book in the field of innovation and business strategy. Most markets are crowded with me-too companies fighting each other with cut-throat discounts and special offers. Kim and Mauborgne show how you can move out of this bloody 'red ocean' into a different and more profitable 'blue ocean.' I found the most useful part of the book was the description of company 'value curves' which compare the values that you offer in different aspects of your product or service with those of your competitors. It is an invaluable starting point in searching for ways to gain competitive advantage through innovation. There are some good case studies and examples. The later parts of the book on implementing the strategy are a little weaker but overall it is highly recommended.
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on 15 February 2013
This is one of the most compelling books on business strategy I have read. The authors describe their ideas for building competitive (and hopefully sustainable competitive) advantage by making deliberate, informed decisions on what tasks you perform when delivering your product or service.

It isn't revolutionary (are there really any new ideas in business strategy) but instead discusses a very comprehensive set of tools designed to help you achieve sufficient differentiation from your competitors to make a difference in your business.

The book not only tells you 'what' you should do but more importantly tells you 'how' you do it.

If you buy one book on business strategy this year then this should be it.
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on 6 June 2007
This is a very well thought through and researched piece of work. It is a must -read for any CEO who wants his company to operate in a space different from the beaten track.

The book puts together a pack of simple yet powerful tools to conceptualize the new space, define it in detail, craft a profit strategy, and actualize its implementation.

The examples used are penetratively insightful, and liberal in number for the point(s) to be driven home.

Although primarily geared more for B2C businesses, the broad principles can be extrapolated for any type of business.

I was pleasantly intrigued to find that on the back of this book someone has actually created a service offering and started a boutique consulting firm. That is very impressive indeed.
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on 8 January 2013
Braved this whilst on holiday and couldnt beleive how useful and innovative it was! Its a bold concept that involves major league changes for an organisation, in their whole philosophy and way of working, but it was exciting and there are not many strategy books you can say that about. Go for it.
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on 20 May 2013
Interesting view with plenty to take away. Lots of useful models. I find the value innovation map a little too simple / open to subjectivity. It could lead to blind spots if competitor analysis is not thorough. Like all tools - easier to create in hindsight. Would like to understand more about the underlying research. Oh, and if I read another case study on Southwest Airlines I might go mad! :-)
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