My first reaction is that I really love the hands on exercises in this chapter. I would suggest that you should investigate where in other chunks you could add more exercises. In my opinion it could add a lot of value for the readers!
On slide four you write: "let go of the status quo, don't look at the past forget competitors don't ask customer". I guess I understand what you would like to say "don't ask customer' if you refer to traditional market surveys or customer interviews. I strongly disagree that "customers cannot imagine models that differ from the status quo". Not only am I an experience co-creation evangelist who conducted projects where the active integration of customers and key stakeholders turned into "experience platform" that crystallize in offer-driven or customer-driven business models further I believe that customer can deliver value if their energy and ideas are catalyzed in the right way. In addition, I strongly doubt that 'customer-relationship' managers sitting in their leather chairs 100 miles away from the ‘point of value generation’ really do know the customer needs that are not articulated. Ethnography and changing perspectives (walking in the shoes of the customer) give, based on my experiences, new insights. In addition, when we work in an experience co-creation project the facilitation, the catalization of the innovation energy let the customer, and clients of the customer break the barrier of operational ideas resulting in interesting ways of thinking. This process is more delayed and not for every company, however you create a stronger customer relationship, reduce internally silos and transform how the company is thinking.
On the other side, I LOVE the COW exercise.
Congratulation that is a quiet interesting and positive warm-up for the ideation process.
Daniel, got your point. I believe in co-creation with customers just like you do... (cf. chunk 2). However, I don't believe customers are the best starting point for innovative business models. I think they should be part of the process - but maybe rather on the evaluating side...
Alex, I agree that the preliminary starting point is internally where the first idea structures are generated. These ideas however are only the starting in the co-discussion and co-creation process. They form the center in a spiral of creation where the internal ideas are used as stimulus. During the process, discussions are enriched with different point of views and experiences from stakeholders, created a solid idea that is tested and co-created during the process.
Regarding ideation, I like the four "lenses" of innovation from Peter Skarzinski in his book "Innovation to the core" to challenge each building block:
1. Challenging orthodoxies
2. Harnessing discontinuities
3. Leveraging competencies and strategic assets
4. Understanding unarticulated needs
As Daniel said, customer can deliver value if their energy and ideas are catalyzed in the right way. I think these lenses are good to focus idea generation in the first step.
I agree that this book has a tremendous value if it can helps "ordinary people" to think holistically through the use of practical tools. As a junior practionner of business model analysis and idea generation facilitator, I find it much easier to guide people when they have the tools, techniques and hints where to look for ideas. So this section in your book on ideation is critical. This is where people will start using your insights anc consulting experience.
Regarding brainstorming, some people seem to disagree with the effectiveness of this method. Seth Godin in his book "Free Prize Inside" advocates the "Edgecraft" process which I found really practical and much easier to embrace for ordinary people not used to creativity sessions. The idea is to identify the soft innovations that live on the edges of what already exists. You can guide people along a list of edges that appeal to ordinary people while at the same time identify great opportunities to innovate at lower cost.
As you mentioned in an earlier post, BMI is valuable (if radical) but faces a great deal of barrier within organizations orthodoxies, politics, status-quo. To my mind, this method helps people thinking in their existing environment while stretching their ideas to the edge where the true remarkable idea will support the innovation. Ipod was an existing product that was adapted using Apple's talent for design and simple, user-friendly application and then pushing the "design edge" and "ease of use" edge to the extreme. They also pushed the edge of the "portability" of the music to another extreme with the iTunes site which provided the content after well-thought agreement with the music industry.
These are practical, easy to grasp notions that can guide people in their ideation process.
Don't you think that "soft innovations" ideation is much more appropriate, especially for for large organizations as BMI often starts at the startup level ?
I also wanted to mention the method used by Peer Insight, Secret#3: Contradict the dominant logic, where they systematically try to contradict predefined elements of the three physical, information and financial flows. By systematically asking the question "What if we could contradict the dominant logic? for each element of these flows, you end up with a list of new elements which after recombination with crucial elements addressing customer priorities, will form a compelling set of new models. I really find this method simple, straightforward and intuitive.
So another what if question could be ""What if we could contradict the dominant logic for each element of the physical, information and financial flows ?"
Philippe, I like your point about "soft innovations" and I think we should cover it. I think it fits better in the "business model evaluation" section, rather than the ideation section. Evaluation will be about identifying strengths and weakness as well as opportunities and threats (SWOT) for each area of the business model. That can then serve as a basis for soft innovations. Certainly easier to get through in a large organization...
Offer driven example
When Cemex A Mexican cement company offered to deliver truck loads of poured cement to job sites in less than 4 hours versus the normal order to delvbiery time of 48 hours. They used satellite technolgy to track trucks and new formulations of cement that changed the set up time.
By the way they made so much money on this ( imagine the savings to a contractor pouring cement for an airport runway and have to shut down for 48 hours when bad batches of cement sho up. They'll pay naything to keep the workers working.
Anyway they made enough money to go on a buying spree and turned a regional Mexican cement company into the 2nd largest in the world.
John, I like the Cemex example. Ian MacMillan from Wharton and Rita Gunther McGrath from Columbia University describe the transformation you mention nicely in their HBR article (MarketBusting). Ian enthusiastically talked about Cemex when I recorded a podcast with him last year.
While it's a fun exercise, as it is structured it provides few workable ideas. I say that because you've left out a step that Edward Debono calls for in his random exercise technique. (The father of Lateral thinking)
Take the cow (random thought) and extract it's characteristics.
has a hide
Makes a sound like MOO
You get the point.
Use one of the characteristics and use that to see where it takes you. If you look at the responses, they all intuitively extracted characteristics and worked on those. (Like the condom tester idea, which uses a specific characteristics.)
To make this technique work I think you should add in all the steps. I'd just be a little leery of the cow exercise by itself as there is not enough to work with.
In other words make explicit the implicit steps people are intuitively using.