Is Blue Ocean Strategy a flavor of the month?

by State Library and Archives of Florida

The answer is no. The term blue oceans is new, but their existence in the business world is not. Blue Ocean Strategy (co-authored by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne) focuses on the concept as a steeple of the past and future.

 “Look back one hundred years and ask yourself, how many of today’s industries were then unknown?” “Now put the clock forward twenty years—or perhaps fifty years—and ask yourself how many now unknown industries will likely exist then. If history is any predictor of the future, again the answer is many of them.”

The corner-stone of Blue Ocean Strategy is ‘Value Innovation’. A blue ocean is created when a company achieves value innovation that creates value simultaneously for both the buyer and the company.

The innovation (in product, service, or delivery) must raise and create value for the market, while simultaneously reducing or eliminating features or services that are less valued by the current or future market.

Blue Ocean Strategy is the result of a decade long study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than 30 industries over 100 years (1880-2000).

Let’s consider the reason it is called Blue Ocean Strategy…


The metaphor of red and blue oceans describes the market universe. Red oceans are all the industries in existence today—the known market space. In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. Here companies try to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share of product or service demand. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products become commodities or niche, and cutthroat competition turns the ocean bloody. Hence, the term red oceans.

Blue oceans, in contrast, denote all the industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In blue oceans, competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set. Blue Ocean is an analogy to describe the wider, deeper potential of market space that is not yet explored.

Blue Ocean Strategy is a best seller across five continents, has been published in 42 languages and has sold over two million copies. Blue Ocean Strategy can be applied for corporations, associations, governments and academic institutions. Blue Ocean research, practice institutes/centers have been set up across four continents and interest continue to grow worldwide.

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Brendan Murphy
10360 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite C
San Diego CA 92121

Blue Ocean Strategy

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