I am reading “The Wide Lens” by Ron Adner for a second time this year. It’s that good and in my opinion the best book of 2012 for entrepreneurs. I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read it.
The book draws it title from the need for entrepreneurs to broaden their planning beyond a narrow focus on execution (“what does it take to deliver the right innovation on time, to spec, and beat the competition”) to include an understanding of
- Co-innovation: Who else need to innovate for your innovation to matter.
- Adoption Chain: Who else needs to adopt your innovation before the end customer sees the full value proposition.
Adner outlines three broad phases for the development and delivery of innovative products:
- Seeing the Ecosystem: which requires you to identify both co-innovation and adoption chain risks.
- Mapping the Ecosystem: which requires that you map the value blueprint (the activities that must take place outside of your firm for value to be created for your customer) and understand if you would have first mover advantage.
- Reconfiguring the Ecosystem: consider what existing elements can separated, combined, relocated, or subtracted and what new element can be added. Develop a plan for the evolution of your new ecosystem that comprehends:
- Minimum Viable Footprint (MVF): the smallest configuration of elements that can be brought together to create unique commercial value. Note that this differs from an MVP in that it includes co-innovation and adoption chain needs.
- Staged Expansion: the order to add elements to the MVF so that each new element benefits from the system already in place and increases the value creation potential for the next element planned.
- Ecosystem Carryover: can you leverage elements from a current ecosystem to enable the construction of a new ecosystem.
We are firming up plans to do several webinars in the Book Club for Business Impact series on it this Fall. Please let me know if you would like to take part in one.