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Blue Ocean Strategy Tools

Six Paths Framework

  Head-to-Head Competition Blue Ocean Creation
Industry Focuses on rivals within its industry Looks across alternative industries
Strategic Group Focuses on competitive position within strategic group Looks across strategic groups within industry
Buyer Group Focuses on better serving the buyer group Redefines the industry buyer group
Scope of Product or Service Offering Focuses on maximizing the value of product and service offerings within the bounds of its industry Looks across to complementary product and service offerings
Functional-emotional Orientation Focuses on improving the price performance within the functional-emotional orientation of its industry Rethinks the functional-emotional orientation of its industry
Time Focuses on adapting to external trends as they occur Participates in shaping external trends over time

© Kim & Mauborgne. All rights reserved.

The Six Paths Framework developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne allows managers to address the search risk many companies struggle with. It enables them to successfully identify out of the haystack of possibilities that exist, commercially compelling blue oceans by reconstructing market boundaries.

There are six basic approaches to reconstructing market boundaries. These challenge the six fundamental assumptions underlying many companies’ strategies that keep companies trapped competing in red oceans. Instead of looking within the accepted boundaries of competition, the Six Paths Framework allows managers to look systematically across them to create blue oceans.

The table outlines these six basic assumptions and the pathway managers can take to break away from head-to-head competition towards blue ocean creation.

The six paths have general applicability across industry sectors. None of the paths requires special vision or foresight about the future. All are based on looking at familiar data from a new perspective.

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W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne created a comprehensive set of analytic tools and frameworks any organization can apply to create new market spaces and make the competition irrelevant.

Blue ocean strategy tools, methodologies and frameworks bring structure to what has historically been an unstructured problem in strategy – informing organizations’ ability to create new market spaces systematically. With blue ocean strategy tools and analytics, companies can now pursue and create blue oceans of uncontested market space in an opportunity-maximizing, risk-minimizing way. The best way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.

Select from the icons below to learn more about the analytic tools of blue ocean strategy:

All analytic tools © Kim & Mauborgne. All rights reserved.

Red Ocean vs. Blue Ocean Strategy
Value Innovation
Visualizing Strategy
Strategy Canvas
Four Actions Framework
ERRC Grid
Six Paths Framework
Pioneer Migrator Settler Map
Three Tiers of Noncustomers
Sequence of Blue Ocean Strategy
Buyer Utility Map
Price Corridor
of the Mass
Four Hurdles to Strategy Execution
Tipping Point Leadership
Fair Process