Why and How Blue Ocean Shift Can Help You

A guest blog by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of Blue Ocean Shift:

Twelve years ago, we wrote a book about a different way of looking at markets, thinking about strategies, and being an entrepreneur. In our years as strategy professors, we noticed that most companies and organizations, from large corporations to nonprofits, focus on outcompeting rivals in their markets as a way to create growth. Our research, however, overwhelmingly showed that real growth, innovative solutions and effective change, came from creating new markets. The resulting book, Blue Ocean Strategy, went on to sell more than 3.6 million copies. It has been published in a record-breaking 44 languages and is a bestseller across five continents.

In the years since, a tidal wave of interest we hadn’t expected grew as governments, nonprofits, and even individuals adapted the business strategies outlined in the book to rethink their work, art, and missions. Suddenly people the world over were identifying themselves as in a red ocean with a call to action to get out and create blue oceans. This raised the conversation and questions to a whole new level: from “what is blue ocean strategy?” to “how do we actually apply its theory and tools to shift from red to blue oceans?” Where do we start this process? And how do I get people to buy into the idea and bring them along, when all they know and are comfortable with is how to compete along established industry rules? 

Those discussions have led up to our new book Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth. Whether you are a cash-strapped startup, social enterprise or a large, established company with bureaucratic obstacles, Blue Ocean Shift will show you how to build your people’s confidence and move from existing markets crowded with competition – or red oceans full of sharks – to wide-open new markets, what we call blue oceans, in a way that brings people along so they own and drive the process. We regard humanness and acknowledging people’s fears, insecurities, and need to be treated with dignity as key components to bringing about transformational change and making a successful shift.


Brimming with battle-tested lessons, Blue Ocean Shift is replete with real-life examples of companies and nonprofits – large and small – that have applied the blue ocean process and tools to move their organizations beyond competing to new value-cost frontiers and wide-open blue oceans.


We strove to showcase organizations from different corners of the world and across diverse industries from healthcare to charities, to microfinance to even prison reform.


Readers will learn for example how UK charity Comic Relief made a blue ocean shift that led to a thirty-year blue ocean of sustainable new market space. It has raised £950 million since its launch in 1985, without any marketing expense, and nearly thirty years on, there are still no credible competitors. Blue Ocean Shift also shows how a conductor applied the blue ocean approach to create the first youth orchestra in the Middle East – the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq – that focused on peace and bridging fratricidal divides as much as playing music – both Arab and Kurdish as well as western.


Any company or organization seeking to make an effective and sustainable social impact, can apply blue ocean tools and processes and move beyond competition, not just for-profits. We think our new book can help you and anyone committed to building a vibrant future and opportunity for all, empowering you to succeed as you embark on your own blue ocean journey. Find out how you can realize your true potential for change by making a shift in your existing organization or your next project.


Blue Ocean Shift launches September 26, 2017. Order your copy today. 

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