Step by step we are building a model that enables us to upgrade strategic decision making and that encompasses the various packages of decisions that confront us in life. At the most basic level is the package that OPENS THE DOOR TO ACTION ( the basic strategic thinking course). It is critical to become active in order to unleash our creativity, so it is easy to see why moving from an inactive or passive to an active pose makes sense. Taking a step up, is the package of decisions that enables us to connect our agendas with others USING COMMUNICATION as a tool (the strategic communication course). No one lives in a vacuum, so mastering these tools is a must. We can take this a step further by addressing this question – how do build our capacity to ADD VALUE through what we learn and share in life? That is the focus of this short course. It challenges to play the STRATEGIC INNOVATION GAME.
Where to start? As always, our intellectual adventure starts with a question. What do I mean by “adding value”?
In order to answer this, we need a model of “value” that enables us to distinguish value from its opposite. First, let’s agree on a very simple observation – value is not a tangible thing itself. It is instead an interpretation of what tangible and intangible things offer us in a given context.
value = relative importance
For example, while we trudge under the hot sun through a vast desert, water may offer more value to us than a huge block of gold that is too heavy to carry.. Building on this example, we can see that value has several dimensions. One dimension is in the effect things have on us. Big effects or more precisely, critical effects add high value. Trivial effects add less value. When we are thisty, water offers a critical effect and value. And as I have already alluded to, there is one more dimension. These effects are important because of the certain context that they fit into. So a painting.by a renowned artist, let’s say Rembrandt, would seem to be highly valuable. That might be because of the pleasure one gets from viewing it or perhaps just the knowledge that it be sold for quite a tidy sum that might increase even more. Or both. The key point is that understanding the context is critical to being able to see possible substitutions and hence, more precise value measurements.
value depends on effects in context
So how to measure effects in context? If we can do that, we can make more effective decisions that add effects that match contexts at the highest levels. That will preoccupy us in our first session of strategic innovation.
So what goes into those measurements? This is something that entrepreneurs must learn. They offer goods and/or services that they believe are highly desired by others in a given context. To do that, they must be highly sensitive to valuations of those goods and services. How do entrepreneurs learn what is needed in various contexts? Asking the question that way illuminates that this is learned by connecting with people in those contexts. It is a social process. We will be taking a close look at that social process later on in this course. As we will see, satisfying those needs using the best knowledge and skills available at that given moment is the last phase of the innovation process.
For now, let’s assume for a moment that we have learned what is needed in a given context. We cannot produce the effects that are needed without a thing that does that for us. We call those things products or services. Using shorthand, we might think of this next to last stage of strategic innovation as creating those products or services. that includes building prototypes and upgrading products to meet demand.
So what is needed to build a prototype? Before we do that, we need to know what capacities match what people want. The capacities will be translated into the thing the product or service does. The demand measures the effect of that thing that fits what others do or want to do.
This can be a subtle thing. Henry Ford, foer example, believed that he understood the capacity that matched what people wanted from cars – cheap transport. In fact, Ford missed another capacity — status of ownership. The car as part of lifestyle. Ooops!
so where do we find these capacities? This is found through a process of discovery. The discoveries may be of new ideas or in how to combine existing ideas in new ways. Think of discovery as the fuel that powers all of the above. We want to open to and good at discovery.
Now we know what we need to learn about.
1. How to maximize our potential to generate discoveries?
2. How to maximize our capacity to translate discoveries into desired capacities?
3. How to translate our desire capacities into prototypes?
4. How to build business models that squeeze out the value added from the products and services that we offer?
lets start with discovery.