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Blue Ocean Strategy: Unlocking New Market Spaces

This article is part of a series on Blue Ocean Strategy. Other articles in this series include:

  • Transformational Leadership: Steering Your Organisation Towards Blue Oceans

  • Breaking Barriers: Mobilising Teams and Overcoming Inertia in Blue Ocean Strategy

  • Adapting to Change: Pivoting Your Blue Ocean Strategy During Crises


Traditional business approaches often focus on competing in established markets, which can limit growth potential. In contrast, Blue Ocean Strategy provides a framework for discovering and developing untapped market spaces, allowing companies to innovate without direct competition.

Introduction to Blue Ocean Strategy

Pioneered by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy encourages businesses to explore new market territories where competition is minimal. The key is to create value in ways that set your offerings apart from existing market norms.

Core Principles of Blue Ocean Strategy

  1. Value Innovation: This is the backbone of Blue Ocean Strategy. It involves enhancing value for both the company and its customers by achieving a balance between differentiation and cost efficiency.

  2. Reframing Market Boundaries: To find new opportunities, businesses must look beyond traditional industry limits and consider broader market contexts.

  3. Strategic Vision: Emphasize the big picture over granular details to maintain focus on innovative growth rather than being constrained by existing competitive metrics.

  4. Expanding Market Reach: Target non-customers to broaden your market base, understanding why these groups have been overlooked and how to attract them.

  5. Systematic Sequencing: Ensure your strategy addresses utility, price, cost, and adoption in a logical sequence to maximise success.

The Four Actions Framework

To craft a new value curve, businesses should:

  1. Eliminate: Remove factors that the industry takes for granted but adds no value.

  2. Reduce: Cut back on aspects that are over-engineered.

  3. Raise: Enhance features that are currently underdeveloped.

  4. Create: Introduce elements that the industry has never offered.

Successful Blue Ocean Strategies

  • Cirque du Soleil: Merged elements of circus and theatre to create a new entertainment experience, eliminating expensive elements like animals and focusing on artistic performance.

  • Nintendo Wii: Expanded the gaming market by introducing intuitive motion controls, appealing to non-gamers and families.

Benefits of Blue Ocean Strategy

  • Less Competition: By creating a unique market space, companies avoid the fierce competition of traditional markets.

  • Increased Demand: Reaching out to non-customers can significantly boost market demand.

  • Sustainable Growth: Continuous innovation fosters long-term success and market leadership.

The next article in this series will delve into the role of transformational leadership in guiding your organisation towards these new market spaces.

Next in the series: Transformational Leadership: Steering Your Organisation Towards Blue Oceans


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