After the publication of our books Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean Shift, a question repeatedly popped up from practitioners, academics, and consultants working in the field of innovation:
How does blue ocean strategy differ from creative destruction, disruption, or disruptive innovation?
To address that question, we reexamined our blue ocean data from the innovation angle and found that although a few cases, such as Novo Nordisk’s insulin pen, largely displaced the existing offerings in their own industries, most blue oceans in our data were created not within existing industry boundaries but across them.
Cirque du Soleil, for instance, created a new market space across the existing boundaries of circus and theater. Although it pulled a degree of share from both, generating a measure of disruption, it did not significantly displace either.
Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne, authors of Beyond Disruption
However, our examination also revealed something else that greatly intrigued us. Among the cases that had been added to our original database over time, a few had triggered no disruption or displacement. That piqued our curiosity. Did those cases represent a few unconnected anomalies, or were they the tip of an iceberg, examples of a new kind of innovation? If the latter, why had it been largely overlooked in the literature on innovation and growth? What were its implications for business and society, now and in the future? And was there a process or an approach by which we could conceive and realize this new kind of innovation in a systematic way?
To answer those questions we collected historical and current cases of nondisruptive creation across the for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors. As we did, we built a growing new database on nondisruptive creation and the managerial actions involved in it.
Our research showed that nondisruptive creation is a concept distinct from both disruption and blue ocean strategy, with a correspondingly distinct impact on growth.
Whereas disruption generates new markets within existing industry boundaries, resulting in a high level of disruptive growth, and blue ocean strategy creates new markets across existing industry boundaries, producing a mix of disruptive and nondisruptive growth, nondisruptive creation generates new markets outside existing industry boundaries and yields mostly nondisruptive growth.
Our book Beyond Disruption details the historical evolution of our journey and offers the answers we found to the questions we asked.