Blue Ocean Strategy is a fantastic read for anyone focused on innovating in their industry. The frameworks, ideas, and concepts apply cross-industry in both the public and the private sector. It provides a framework for how to think about solving problems and finding ways to create value for your customers.
I found the example of Cirque Du Soleil’s approach to innovating in the declining industry of circuses especially helpful. How they combined the best of live theater with the circus experience then retarget it to adults and create a new experience. Other examples also highlight the numerous ways in which other companies have disrupted their own industry through a blue ocean strategy.
The idea behind a blue ocean is that you find areas where you can create a new market space where you compete as the sole provider. You create a blue ocean that provides value in a new way to customers and benefit from being the only one who meets this new demand.
The book describes how you go about creating and identifying a blue ocean. Start by understanding what the key factors and assumptions currently are in an industry. Then you systematically decide which assumptions should be gotten rid of and lowered. In Cirque Du Soleil’s case eliminating animals and multiple rings (stages) and lowering the cost of refreshments and the importance of star performers. The next step is to determine which factors are not weighted high enough. Developing themes for each show and increase the cost of the ticket. The last is determining what is not a key factor currently but should be. For example adding unique venues, music, and retargeting to adult experiences.
Overall the blue ocean strategy is a guide to systematic innovation and assessment of the current industry. It can be used to drive new lines of thinking where there is a struggle and can be used as a guide to determine if new ideas are truly innovative.
If you are an entrepreneur looking to develop a new product this is a great read that will give you additional tools to utilize and find your blue ocean of growth opportunity.