W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

Inventors of the ground-breaking “blue ocean strategy”, paving the way for organizations to break out of fixed market boundaries and create a whole new space.  


Ranked #5 in 2023.

Previously featured:

#3 (2021), #1 (2019), #4 (2017), #3 (2015), #2 (2013), #2 (2011), #5 (2009), #6 (2007), #15 (2005), and #31 (2003). 


Recipients of the Thinkers50 2011 Strategy Award for “the business book of the decade” Blue Ocean Strategy.


Shortlisted for the 2023 Thinkers50 Innovation Award. 

Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2015 Breakthrough Idea Award.

Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2013 Global Solutions Award.


Kim and Mauborgne’s ground-breaking research on blue ocean strategy changed business lexicon and pioneered a way to create and capture new, uncontested market space through the concept they termed “value innovation.” They coined the terms “red ocean” – the known, competitive market within industry boundaries – and “blue ocean” – the unknown and uncontested market space, where demand is created, spawning new opportunities and growth. Kim and Mauborgne also developed the concept of “nondisruptive creation”, challenging the notion that innovation must be disruptive.



Professors of Strategy at INSEAD, both Kim and Mauborgne are also co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France. They are the recipient of numerous academic and management awards. In 2023, Kim and Mauborgne were recognized as two of the four leading thinkers in Harvard Business Review’s 100-year history for the far-reaching global impact of their body of research and ideas. Their book Blue Ocean Strategy was featured on the Thinkers50 Management Classics Booklist in 2022.


Beyond Disruption: Innovate and Achieve Growth without Displacing Industries, Companies, or Jobs (HBR Press, 2023); Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth (Sloan Management Review, Spring 2019); Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth (Hachette, 2017); Red Ocean Traps (Harvard Business Review, March 2015); Blue Ocean Strategy (HBR Press, 2005, Expanded Edition, 2015); How Strategy Shapes Structure (Harvard Business Review, September 2009).

NATIONALITY: South Korean and American

Media picks


“Creators of the big strategy concept of the 21stcentury.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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