Centred on the philosophy of global best-sellers, Blue Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean Shift, the award given to Mr Kwek was in recognition of his efforts in opening up new frontiers of opportunity and growth and creating a new pipeline for economic expansion.

The inaugural Global Blue Ocean Shift Awards were handed out by Prime Minister Najib to Mr Kwek and other recipients, which included senior Malaysian officials, for their work in implementing the ‘blue ocean strategy’. The awards also recognised outstanding achievements made across the public, private and social sectors.

In his address, Prime Minister Najib said that since its introduction in 2009, the National Blue Ocean Strategy had been a key pillar in Malaysia’s transformation as the government followed what was known as the Blue Ocean Shift process to tackle a wide range of economic and social issues, and rapidly deliver high impact initiatives for the benefit of the people and at low cost to the government.

The Blue Ocean Shift ideology focuses on identifying untapped growth opportunities by moving from “red oceans” crowded with competition to “blue oceans” of uncontested market space and explosive growth.

A firm practitioner of the ideology, Mr Kwek was also on the panel discussion ‘Blue Ocean Entrepreneurship In Action’ at the two-day conference at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, where 15,000 people from 89 countries attended. Mr Kwek, who is also Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (M&C), shared with the audience how he is incorporating the Blue Ocean Shift in the workplace.

M&C’s hotels have taken steps to implement various activities to support Mr Kwek’s Blue Ocean vision. Staff from M&C around the world were also given a copy of the Blue Ocean Shift book as an early Christmas present, and various learning activities were initiated. For example, M&C hotels in Singapore have a monthly staff recognition programme where the most innovative idea wins S$100.