Monday, July 23, 2018

Value in an Age of Endless Innovation

By Pascal Dennis (bio)

Enterprise, in all its glorious variety, cacophony & unpredictability begins and ends with value.

We seek to create products, services, experiences…that elevates our fellow human beings, that make their lives easier or more enjoyable, that reduce hassle and free up their time & energy.

Otherwise, why bother? We are human to the degree we are connected, and Value is an excellent measure of connectivity, no?

In John Donne’s timeless words:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…

So what is Value? You all know the standard definitions:

  1. What the customer is willing to pay for
  2. Quality/Cost

I’m partial to Kano’s model.

I grew up professionally at Toyota manufacturing at the superb TMMC site in Cambridge Ontario. Value was our guiding light, our North Star.

Value was expressed in Toyota’s famous logo, the intertwined ovals representing:

  • Something for the customer
  • Something for the team member
  • Something for the company

Moreover, we further translated Value into our four strategic focus areas: People, Quality, Delivery and Cost. To be sure, our targets changed year by year, as we changed models and customer desires changed. Nonetheless, Value was more or less constant.

Fast forward a couple of decades to 2018. Today Value is an endlessly moving target. Digital is indeed eating the world, and neither we, nor our customers can always define Value.

Indeed, in industries like Banking and Insurance, we can say with some confidence that there’s a good chance we do not understand value.

What to do?

For a start, let’s recognize that Value is no longer a fixed star, but a constantly moving & evolving entity.

Secondly, let’s accept that we have to iterate ourselves to value through continuous experimentation.

Thirdly, let’s commit to radical collaboration, across silos, and partnering with customers & stakeholders.

Lastly, let’s recognize the qualities that will help us untangle the Gordian Knot: humility, openness, humor and a big-picture consciousness.

It all adds up to a bracing challenge and new way of working.

Best regards,


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