How Can You make the Competition Irrelevant? “Hit ‘em where they ain’t.”

I was recently asked to write a blog on Blue Ocean Strategies that was introduced by +W. Chan Kim and +Renee Mauborgne in their book Blue Ocean Strategy.

Everyone should read the book if they are looking for ways to grow their business by creating uncontested market spaces. The book is an excellent read and gives many compelling examples.

If I were to give a summary of the book it would be by using a quote by Wee Willie Keeler, a great baseball hitter in the late 1800s and early 1900s, who said, “I hit ‘em where they ain’t”.

At 5’4” and 140 lbs., Willie was a batting champion and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For businesses, the Blue Ocean Strategy is a study on building a strategy for any business to “hit ‘em where the competitors ain’t”. “Blue Oceans” are areas where there is little competition from rivals. “Red Oceans” are where rivals are congregated, fighting for customers using similar business approaches.

A place to begin a “Blue Ocean” strategy project is with the Strategy Canvas. This canvas depicts how players in an industry set their strategies on multiple strategy dimensions.  As you can see in the example below it shows how Southwest Airlines strategy differs from the other airlines. This difference has led to Southwest’s success in an industry full of failures and troubled airlines.

Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas
This is an excellent starting point for any company wishing to determine where to move strategically within an industry to find blue ocean waters.

Once a business has determined areas that can be exploited to create a “blue ocean” the book provides a well-constructed approach to developing a “blue ocean” strategy and for dealing with hurdles that will stand in your way.

To augment the “blue ocean” strategy process we would recommend the use of the new product development process discussed in our earlier post.


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