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Blue Ocean Strategy

Take your business into unchartered waters

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Learn about the “Blue Ocean Strategy” and the benefits it offers your business.
  • Delivering products and services in unique ways, rather than adopting new technology, may win you new clients and increase your market share.
  • Understand the importance of identifying new product markets and offering products that represent value for your customers.
  • Assess your customers’ needs and preferences in order to reinvent your business, retain existing customers and win new customers.


Most businesses compete hard for market share, looking to gain any competitive advantage they can over the competition. They would give almost anything to be able to create a business strategy where demand for their product or service is high and the competition is virtually non-existent. Professors at the INSEAD business school, W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, developed a strategy that helps businesses to fulfil this goal, known as “Blue Ocean Strategy”. They conducted research over 30 years and first published the work in the Harvard Business Review in 2004. They later released a book titled Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant.

The authors describe the market as an ocean with most businesses competing in crowded sections of the waters. Competition is fierce with many businesses offering similar products and services, fighting hard for customers and income. The waters become bloodied from the fights, they are overcrowded and consequently profits decline. This is referred to by Kim and Mauborgne as the “red ocean”, and over time it becomes harder and harder for all the businesses in the red ocean to remain viable.

The “blue ocean” is the complete opposite. There are vast clear waters with little or no competition; you are free to sail wherever you want and there is plenty of space to expand. Market share and profits are there for the taking and the strategy in essence outlines how you can navigate your business from the red ocean through to the blue ocean where growth and higher levels of profit can be achieved.

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