Blue Ocean 4 Actions Framework Template

Break the value-cost trade-off and create a blue ocean with four central questions.

About the Blue Ocean 4 Actions Framework template

Who created Blue Ocean 4 Actions Template

Blue Ocean 4 Actions Template was created by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. They are Professors of Strategy at INSEAD, one of the world’s top business schools, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France. Together, they wrote a best-selling book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant.  

Why use the 4 Actions template?

The 4 Actions Template can help you assess whether you are spending money in the correct ways around your product to maximize user gain and minimize user pain. Identify the pains that really matter for your product and the gains that really matter with this template. This way, you are getting the most value with the least cost within the total product market.

When to use the Blue Ocean 4 Actions Template

The Four Actions Framework is most useful when you help create value innovation and break the value-cost trade-off. W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne use terms red and blue oceans to describe the market universe. They say that ‘red oceans are all the industries in existence today—the known market space.’ In the red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. As the market space gets crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Blue oceans, in contrast, denote all the industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. So the Blue Ocean 4 Actions Template is a great tool to consider when you feel like your company or your product is stuck in the ‘red ocean’ and you are looking for the ways to innovate. 

How do you use the 4 Actions template?

Step 1: Eliminate 

In each column, it’s important to ask questions about the industry standards among your product space. First, ask yourself, which factors that the industry has long competed on should be eliminated? Think of the factors that require a lot of investment and effort, but don’t bring a lot of revenue/new customers and, in general, don’t drive key metrics up. These can also be the factors that made more sense in the past but are not as useful now — for example, a feature of differentiated a digital product in the past but became obsolete as time passed. 

Step 2: Reduce

Which factors should be reduced well below the industry’s standard? Think of the features/characteristics of your product that are well designed to beat the competition but take to much time and resources. Can you strip this down to something more simple but still competitive and relevant to your users?

Step 3: Raise

Which factors should be raised well above the industry’s standard? What are the pain points that the market does not address? Think of the way you can build features that will help your customers solve challenges that other companies are not solving.  

Step 4: Create 

Which factors should be created that the industry has never offered? This is one of the most challenging questions and it requires a deep understanding of your customers’ interests and desires, as well as a good insight into where the industry is going. The goal is to think about the future and the challenges customers haven’t articulated yet. 

Blue Ocean 4 Actions Framework Template

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