Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.






The Evolution of the Circus Industry (Part A)

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, BENSAOU, Ben, WILLIAMSON, Matt

Case study trailer


This is the first of a two-case series. The first Case (A) discusses the evolution of the circus industry up until the emergence of Cirque du Soleil. This case provides a detailed discussion on the structure of the circus industry to make possible a rich analysis of how its industry attractiveness has changed over time and the challenges the industry now confronts. The case reveals that the industry had become a red ocean with limited profit and growth potential. To achieve this, students are asked to address the following questions: 1) How would they assess the attractiveness of the circus industry in the early 1980s? What would you conclude from your industry analysis? 2) What were the factors the traditional circuses competed on? What made these factors more or less relevant over time? The second case (B), shows how one company, Cirque du Soleil reconstructed the industry to create a blue ocean. It is an excellent and important complement to the first case. A video called ‘The Evolution of the Circus Industry’ is available in the Educators’ Space. 

The Case Centre European Case Awards Category Winner 2006

The Case Centre European Case Awards Overall Winner 2009

Selected among The Case Centre’s top 40 all-time bestsellers

Even a Clown Can Do it: Cirque du Soleil Recreates Live Entertainment (Part B)

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, BENSAOU, Ben


This is the second of a two-case series. Cirque du Soleil very successfully entered a structurally unattractive circus industry. It was able to reinvent the industry and created a new market space by challenging the conventional assumptions about how to compete. It value innovated by shifting the buyer group from children (end-users of the traditional circus) to adults (purchasers of the traditional circus), drawing upon the distinctive strengths of other alternative industries, such as the theatre, Broadway shows and the opera, to offer a totally new set of utilities to more mature and higher spending customers. The case series is designed to serve a variety of purposes in the value innovation and creating new market space teaching module of an MBA strategy course or executive education programme. The case series can be equally used individually in a standalone module on value innovation or as part of a sequence of three to four sessions. In both instances, the instructor can best use it to cover the following topics: (1) the value innovation logic (as compared to industry and competitive analysis); (2) the concept of value curve; and (3) the six paths analysis for creating new market space. A video called ‘The Evolution of the Circus Industry’ is available in the Educators’ Space. 

The Case Centre European Case Awards Overall Winner 2008

Teaching Note Authored by: W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne, Ben Bensaou

Case Study A
Teaching Note


Case Study B
Teaching Note