Innovation beyond blue oceans

Patrick Barwise and Seán Meehan
London Business School and IMD business school

Patrick Barwise and Seán Meehan take issue with the well-known 'blue ocean' theory of innovation, using as an example one of its claimed successes, Samsung. For the real world of 'red' to 'purplish' oceans, they recommend a more balanced and inclusive framework for innovation.

"Galactic." That's how the Financial Times described Samsung's 2012 first quarter results, with an 81% year-on-year increase in net income.

Samsung is now world market leader in mobile handsets with a 20.7% volume share. More significantly, the success of its Galaxy smartphones drove its global share of the more lucrative smartphone market to 31%, overtaking Apple's 24%.

If the FT is right, Samsung's strategy – a product for every segment of the market combined with rigorous cost management – bodes well for its future.