]“As an intellectual property consultant and business angel I firmly believe in innovation. However, my ‘faith’ had not yet found a ‘religion’ that amplified this ‘faith’ until I attended a workshop lead by Richard (“Dick”) K. Lee (Ypres, June, 2011). That day the business angel in me told me that I had to ‘back this truck up’. The scores of CEO’s and R&D or marketing managers that also attended that workshop were all too deeply astonished by how quickly and easily we developed valuable insights with regard to defining the Most Important Customer in our Value Chains or the ‘As Is’ Value Curve. This really was some very feasible “Do It Yourself” stuff. I was in, I had found my ‘religion’. I definitely wanted to become a member of this Value Innovation Tribe.’
Dick Lee is a successful ‘heretic’ (marketing guru Seth Godin, “Tribes, We Need You to Lead Us”, p. 70). As ‘Lead Users’ and believers in innovation, Dick and his colleagues created their own innovation ‘religion’ by challenging from within the variant that had won the most followers, namely Kim and Mauborgne’s Value Innovation as described in their bible “Blue Ocean Strategy”. Dick and Co. achieved this by mapping which elements of performance within Value Innovation mattered most to would-be innovators and to what extent. Then they had them vetted by their Most Important Customers. The end result is a business tool for the twenty first century.
The Value Innovation Process:
Is not at all a ‘command and obey tool’ of a traditional factory, because it is a tool that enables: Bosses can lead by actively promoting the case for applying the Value Innovation Process to any aspect within the company, even with regard to their internal support functions.
All they have to do is to find within the company their first ‘partisans’ and ‘transform their shared interest in innovation into a passionate goal and desire for a change in innovation and to provide them with tools that allow the members to connect with themselves and set up the entire process’. For the rest the boss has to back off whenever possible (Tribes p. 21 & 50) and let that small tribe gradually change the entire corporate culture. (Hint: focus on the ‘Top 5’ characteristics out of a list of 25 in Chapter 1). In the end, everyone will be focused on the Most Important Customers within their Value Chains and they will be damn proud of it.
A Blue Ocean might still turn red some day, although the Value Innovation Process can help to delay sharks coming in by generating (1) intellectual property far more worth protecting and (2) a much better understanding as to what really deserves to be protected and as to how your innovation should be marketed. Moreover, the Value Innovation Process makes it very likely that ever more Blue Oceans will be created and that the best Value Innovators will do that regularly. That will be finally the time that equity analysts will feel compelled to review their already outdated views on innovation. Equity analysts don’t lead, they follow.
Become a ‘partisan’ of the Value Innovation Tribe now and the rest will be history.”
Pierre Saelen, business angel and intellectual property consultant
Owner of IP-Angels
Managing Director, Pharma Diagnostics