Identifying a blue ocean strategy: The create, raise, eliminate, reduce framework

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Overview of the approach: Systematically considering dimensions that you can change

The create, raise, eliminate, reduce framework is a systematic approach to search for blue ocean strategies. It involves systematically considering dimensions that you can adjust from the status quo. While most firms in an industry likely are all broadly similar on key dimensions, the create, raise, eliminate, reduce framework considers whether there are ways of adjusting the standard configuration of attributes to identify a new way of competing, with a completely different offering. 

The create, raise, eliminate, reduce framework

Create: New dimensions to compete on

The create component of the framework considers if there are ways of adding new attributes to your products, different from other firms in the market. Potentially there are things that you can add to your product or service that no other firm currently offers. These are specific things that sets your product apart from other companies.

Raise: Dimensions that you can substantially increase

While the create component seeks to identify completely new dimensions to compete on, the raise element considers whether there are other features, currently offered by other firms that you can substantially raise. Potentially there is something that competitors offer, but only to a minimal degree. Are you able to elevate that dimension by an order of magnitude – offering substantially greater service or benefit on this dimension than other firms. 

Eliminate: Dimensions that you can scrap completely

While the ‘create’ and ‘raise’ dimensions of the blue ocean framework look to see ways of adding additional value to your offerings (setting your company apart from other firms), the eliminate component considers if there are some dimensions of competition that can completely be scrapped. Potentially there are aspects that your new target market would not value – scrapping these may both allow you to produce an offering that is better aligned with their preferences, while also saving on providing features that are not desired by your audience. 

Reduce: Dimensions that you substantially reduce

Although it may be possible to completely scrap certain dimensions, for others, it may not be feasible to eliminate them entirely. If they are not a focus of your newly identified market, there may still be possibilities of substantially reducing certain dimensions though – potentially with an offering that better meets the needs of a subset of the market, while also allowing you to save some cost. 

Final thoughts: Have you developed an attractive configuration

Identifying a new market is not the most challenging part of the blue ocean ‘create, raise, eliminate, reduce’ framework. Identifying a new opportunity that is actually desired by a particular audience is the truly difficult part. This takes careful consideration of the extent to which the new configuration makes sense as a whole. It is not just about being new, but rather, whether your offering is desired. The ultimately needs to be a segment of the market that desires the new configuration that you have identified.