It can be hard to create a strategy for innovation. But if we are talking about B2B enterprise innovation, especially when hardware products are involved (like climate and energy tech), it truly is challenging.
Furthermore, if you are looking for advice, few have actually “been there and done that”. Daniel Elizalde is one of those. He has codified his approach in the B2B Innovator’s Map, a 6-step framework whose initial steps are all about strategy definition.
My takeaways of this episode
- When starting the discussion, and analyzing Daniel’s framework, I was thinking about his first two stages for the Strategic Alignment and Market Discovery. But during the discussion, also the 3rd one (User Discovery) was clearly marked as a strategic step.
- While strategic alignment may sound obvious, as we have seen, most of the time is not being done. And this is what guarantees stakeholders and company support when you later explore specific customer segments and problems.
- When you are trying to reach strategic alignment, it usually works best when you bring a proposal to get input, rather than waiting for other leaders to give you input from scratch.
- Market research doesn’t need to be a very long phase. Leveraging very basic data you can discard and compare different potential markets, and select one to explore.
- In B2B (and specially enterprise) interviewing champions is hard, considering that they will be high-profile busy people. This can also be a factor to start your market research on segments you have better access to (due to contacts or other methods to get time from them).
- Another big difference in B2B is that you need to understand the entire value chain. There would be partners, an existing ecosystem of tools to integrate to, service providers that may need to also be able to use your solution. In other words, the context is much more complex, and you need to understand how you fit in it to succeed.
- Logically, the monetization strategy and market size depends not on the number of users, but the amount of value you are deliverying. In the examples around energy, the “operators” of your “saving energy” solution maybe a handful of people, but you still charge millons to each customer.
- The initial phases, specially strategy alignment and market discovery tend to be more “stable” once the product is on the market, so it may the biggest difference between innovating with new products from scratch versus adding new innovations to existing products.
- At the end, Daniel reinforces that as product leaders we are responsible for helping build the strategy, we can’t wait for the strategy to come to us. And we need to make sure we are carrying that strategy forward to the following steps and refine as you learn.
This article was originally published in ProductDirection.co.
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