Value Innovation: Never, ever, ever assume industry conditions are set.

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value curve, originally uploaded by zoinkydoink.

We continue our discussion of value innovation by attacking the false belief that industry conditions are set in stone, something to be revered and obediently followed.


Value Innovators or Grapefruit Rebels as I like to call them, believe that opportunities lie outside the normal confines of the industry conditions and boundaries.

Value innovators  are not restricted by what is….They are not content with sitting around acting like a grapefruit; waiting to be eaten. They are insistent, blue ocean strategist;  grapefruit rebels!

The enlightened ones, think differently; about life and business.

Think about it, did we land on the moon by thinking within the confines of what was? Do you really think Steve Jobs followed industry assumptions? What about Warren Buffet? Let's see CNN, Cirque De Solei, Linux; nope across the board innovators work outside the confines of industry conditions and boundaries.

Value Innovators understand that the road that everyone else is traveling on; The Path Most Likely Taken is exactly the wrong road for them.  Robert Frost wouldn't have chosen this well worn path nor will my tongue in cheek Grapefruit Rebels!  Business paths ( business models and recipes) that are well worn are red oceans, red oceans are what Chan and Marborgne warned us about in their best seller; Blue Ocean Strategy. According to the authors,

In red oceans, industry boundaries are defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are well understood. Here, companies try to outperform their rivals in order to grab a greater share of existing demand. As the space gets more and more crowded, prospects for profits and growth are reduced. Products turn into commodities, and increasing competition turns the water bloody.

Blue oceans denote all the industries not in existence today—the unknown market space, untainted by competition. In blue oceans, demand is createdrather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. There are two ways to create blue oceans. In a few cases, companies can give rise to completely new industries, as eBay did with the online auction industry. But in most cases, a blue ocean is created from within a red ocean when a company alters the boundaries of an existing industry."

Value Innovators avoid head to head, red ocean competition. To avoid partaking in a blood bath or for fear of being eaten for breakfast, value innovators refuse to bring 'me to' business models to market. That does not mean they ignore their industry, no; they delve in and completely understand the current industry strategy canvas and then capitalize on their understanding to identify opportunitites to wow clients with high value offerings.

 An industry strategy canvas is depicted above, it contains value curves of the leading "players'' in the industry.  A value curve (see above) represents each competitors  performance level over competitive elements. Every player in a market has their own unique value curve. The industry strategy canvas is the culmination of the key industry players value curves. It is a very effective tool in helping to understand the current state of the competitive landscape. It is one of the tools us grapefruit rebels use to understand a market.( We don't stop here…)

While slow growth companies are content to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, opportunties and threats in comparison to the competition, value innovators are not! Value innovation demands that you and I move  outside of the confines and boundaries of our companies and our specific industries.

Value Innovators are rebellious.

They  assume industry conditions are NOT set.

 They don't follow the pack.

They understand red means blood; death to clients, death to profits.

Value innovators know they can shape the conditions of the market place.

So raise your right hand and repeat the first sentence of the value innovators creed with me,

                        "Industry conditions can be shaped and will be shaped by me…"

Because adding  value to a life…a business… matters


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