Creating value is fundamental to the healthy functioning of human beings. Like the natural law of gravity, creating value is the natural Law of Increase. People have instinctively sought “an increase” to their lives — an inner desire to be a greater, a fuller expression of themselves.
Three value creation strategies forward thinking leaders can employ to add increase to our life experiences.
Embrace crazy ideas:
Everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be is at first a formless thought seed in the imagination of a creative mind. Many of the products we can’t live without today started out as crazy ideas– automobiles, airplanes, personal computing, digital music and entertainment, smart phones, the social web – stuff nobody needed or was asking for, but once realized, was just the thing they we’re waiting for.
All innovations that have changed how we live in the world begin as a formless crazy idea. Crazy ideas are always richly embedded with game changing opportunity than safe ideas. A safe idea is the one you can “prove will work” before it takes form in the world. Few if any great innovations were proven in advance. Value creation is a risky business.
Innovate around a higher meaning:
Creating new value always involves proposing new or unexpected meanings. What matters most to people is not the functional performance of a given product, but their emotional, psychological and cultural connection to what the product means to them.
New value lies in the “meaning” not in the physical thing. People don’t just buy products, they buy into a higher meaning. This unexpected idea, unsolicited by user needs, once discovered, turns out to be the very thing people were waiting for, just not asking for. Nobody was asking for an iPod, Facebook, Google or any other product innovation that has redefined a category and changed the course of our lives.
Forget user-centered innovation:
With so many such examples in every industry to benchmark from, I am surprised most leaders continue to invest in traditional market-centered innovation – finding a consumer need and filling it–usually with more features at a cheaper price. A radical innovation of meaning rarely, if ever, comes from incremental improvements or user-centered approaches. Most companies continue to improve incremental performance within existing market concepts they know well– leaving only a few visionary companies to gain competitive advantage (market leadership) by proposing new and different meanings.
The message of hope.
Value creator entrepreneurs and business leaders who will lead our bigger future will be guided by a higher purpose / passion / cause far beyond moneymaking. Their business and brands will represent ideas of value that earn and deserve the advocacy of higher value customers. The innovations of these Value Creators will represent an “increase to life” itself with markets praising this value through a greater financial exchange and reward. Lest we forget value is always in the eye of the beholder.
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