Sunday, July 31, 2011

Book Review - Blue Ocean Strategy

There are books, and there are fantastic books, and sometimes there are exceptional books. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant is truly an exception & one of the best I have come across. Its strength is in its ability to break down strategy into actionable elements that are easy to comprehend.

Based on over 15 years of research, Blue Ocean Strategy outlines why and how companies must go beyond traditional competitive strategies that fight for the same turf and customer. The authors consider such traditional strategies to be 'red ocean' in nature since they only bloody waters. In contrast, a blue ocean strategy creates an uncontested marketplace and makes competition irrelevant. This is achieved through the relentless pursuit of Value Innovation, which is defined as one that creates exceptional value to both the end-user and organization. A successful blue ocean strategy also focuses on both differentiation and cost (unlike a red ocean approach that focuses on either to stay ahead).

The best thing about the book is its articulation of a diagnostic & action tool called the strategy canvas. Every example is analyzed through this easy-to-understand canvas. The book is further enriched by a 6-step approach on how a successful blue ocean strategy can be formulated and executed. Examples are varied and span across time - starting with the automobile of the early 1900s until the iTunes / iPod revolution of today.

If you need to know the 'how-to' and 'what-not-to' of strategy, this book is your guide. I'll rate it 5 stars.

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