Tag Archives: business model canvas

Think, Act, Adapt and Innovate like a Startup!

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Large companies’ size and culture make disruptive innovation extremely difficult (Blank, 2010). Despite this challenge many large food businesses today recognise the need to be disruptive innovators and test new business models in the digital world.

bat-in-face

 

Why change? Because the bat is coming…

Change is coming, it’s here now and there are many ways businesses can react to change.  They can duck and hide and hope the flying baseball bat misses them and takes out the competition.  They can look the other way and collect the full force of change to the face like the poor gentleman below at the Red Sox game or they can be brave anticipate the changes that are coming and reach out for the bat like the guy just out of shot.  Often its the startup that is just out of shot or sight of the incumbents.  Backed by passionate founders and astute investors they anticipate change, react to it positively and use innovative new business models and new technologies to literally land the baseball bat in the face of the incumbents and harvest the glory of fast growth in a new economy.

In this keynote address given at Food&Drink Business Live! Disruptive Innovation, Creatovate – Managing Director, Dermott Dowling takes the audience through some practical learning steps and lessons from local digitally focused food innovators leading the way in this exciting new land of opportunity.

Think!

Thinking is the first step in any business innovation. Alas, it’s hard in isolation. You sit and stare and scribble on the blank sheet of paper in front of you.  However, people as social beings need each other and our collective mind power to come up with breakthrough ideas to innovate. More often than not we scan the environment for what’s out there already and working? Alternatively, we look for problems – what’s bugging our current customers or potential new customers? We then map the value chain from inputs to outputs looking for – what can we take out? Where can we fit in? How we can create value for customers and ultimately our own business?

Think

 

Act!

Next step in the process of building an exciting startup or disruptive innovation is design & rapid prototyping our ideas into Minimal Viable Prototypes or MVPs. Rough and ready is fine here, what’s most important is we start testing & experimenting our hypotheses on existing and new customers ASAP.   Gone are the days we spend weeks and months in kitchens, pilot plants and focus groups with consumers.  The market demands we move at ‘tech speed’ now!  I can not wait as your customer or your boss for months while you toil and spend $$$ without any real customer or consumer feedback!  By that I mean people reaching into their pockets and paying for the food and beverage products, not just talking about how cool it is or whether they might like to buy it when it hits the shelf in 12-18 months time!  As we act, we simultaneously align as a team adapt to the changing customer feedback. We also measure & monitor early results for signs of customer acceptance and readiness to scale our new business model.

Business Model Canvas

Startups are not small versions of large companies. They need different tools for thinking and acting. Its important you create a common language in your company if you venture down the path of creating intrapreneurial startups inside your large organisation, so people are talking on the same page and not hearing Blah! Blah! Blah! when we mention new terms like Business Models. For this reason at Creatovate, we recommend a common approach to our clients hypotheses generation like the Business Model Canvas (Osterwalder, 2012).  This is an excellent thinking tool to get the team ‘on the same page’ in terms of understanding of terms, hypothesising ideas and creating a new Business Model for real market testing.

BMC Hypotheses

Adapt!

Once you have thought and aligned on your initial business model hypotheses “get out of the building” and ask potential users, purchasers, and partners for feedback on all elements of the new business model, including product features, pricing, distribution channels, and affordable customer acquisition strategies. If we accept that startups are engaged in the search for a new business model, we recognize that radical shifts in a startup’s business model are the norm, rather than the exception. For this reason rather than fire the executive team when the normal approaches to go-to-market are not working, we pivot and change tack (Blank, 2013).  Pivots are a completely normal part of the startup process as you first discover customers who will pay an acceptable price for your product and validate your minimal viable prototypes fit their needs and are worthy of scaling.  Venture Capital and astute investors understand pivots as an essential part of building a startup.  The question is does established incumbent business leaders understand they need to treat startups in their own company very differently to the normal go to market new product development that may go through an existing business process like Stage-Gate to existing customers using existing norms.  If you are going to create a breakthrough innovation and business model in the digital economy its highly likely you will be doing things very differently.  As such leaders need to be aware of a different set of behaviours and skills to encourage the startup founders and intrapreneurs to boldly push on and not be afraid to pivot as they learn and lean left and right to find the right business model and validate their multiple hypotheses.

Business Model Iteration

Innovate $

Private equity and venture capital are investing in disruptive startups in the food industry right around the world.  The top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies have lost an equivalent of $18 billion in market share since 2009. Some analysts are describing ‘big businesses in food’ nowadays as being like melting icebergs, every year they become a little less relevant to customers and consumers (Kowitt, 2015).

VC Funding for Food & Beverage Startups

Major packaged-food companies lost $4 billion in market share last year alone, much of it to smaller, more health-conscious companies.  Venture capital firms are taking notice. Over the past five years, they have invested nearly $570 million in food companies. Famous Australian VC/PE funded food businesses include Rafferty’s Garden (Anacacia Capital’s sale of baby food maker Rafferty’s Garden to PZ Cussons for over A$80m).  Notable trade sales recently of established food businesses that have been reinvented include Pacific Equity Partners’ sale of Peters Ice Cream to UK-based ice cream maker R&R (AVCAL Handbook, 2014).

Large multinational food companies are not taking the changes in their markets lying down.  Nestle founded Inventages in 2002 and has invested EUR$150m in 38 companies across a breadth of categories from consumer health sciences to CRM to supply chain to innovative packaging solutions.  Tate & Lyle established Tate & Lyle Ventures in 2006 initially with a £25M VC fund & currently has another active £30 million fund investing £1-2 million per tranche in each investment.  Coca-Cola Founders program was established in 2011 and already has 19 co-founders, across 10 countries, with 9 startups partnering with Coca Cola to provide much needed scalability to the startups and their co-founders.

Design to Grow

Large businesses need startups and vice versa. Is there some magic in the middle and what can incumbents do to learn to be lean and act and adapt and innovate like a startup! Established businesses are in danger of not being able to adapt quickly enough, while nimble start-ups fail due to their inability to scale. Tomorrow’s business winners will be the ones who know how to combine the two (David Butler, VP Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Coca-Cola).

Learn & Lean

Australia is seeing signs of life now in the land of digital disruption with several new startups from both existing food companies and new entrants.  Some digital disruption innovation leaders interviewed for this key note include Dish’d    Kogan Pantry and Marley Spoon  MDs & Founders.  Each business plays to its own unique space in this exciting new field of play, but there are several key common learning shared by their leaders for any business thinking about entering the exciting and highly disruptive digital innovation landscape in food.

dishdkogan pantryMarley Spoon AU

Challenges

Challenges of starting a new food business in the online world today in Australia include:

Sub-culture of a startup within a large business can be hard to swallow for staff and senior leaders alike in established traditional food businesses.  Patience is essential alongside persistence with payback horizons very long and initial sales may fall well short of what can be expected from taking NPD to market through traditional go to market retail channels.  Consumers want whole of shop/meal solutions rather than parts of the pantry stocked from several different eTailers, and they are looking for suppliers to make their lives easier, not harder when it comes to shopping online and/or cooking meals at home.  Inventory / demand / supply chain management is even more challenging in the online with demand for hot specials either going viral and off the charts or product being unappealing and not moving at all.  Never underestimate the response from incumbents who will fight back extremely hard with loss leading specials and pressure exerted on their existing suppliers to restrict supply of goods and inputs to the new entrants.  Go in eyes wide open – the online world requires the same effort if not more than a business in the bricks and mortar world of food and beverage manufacture, supply, distribution and marketing.

Why do it?

We get asked this question a lot from our clients!   Our first response, is to remember that whatever innovation or change you make it must create economic value to you and your business.  Change for changes sake is not innovation, it might be creative but its not innovation until it delivers economic return to your business.  This may not happen for significant time when testing new business models or startup strategy but we also ask our clients what are the possible consequences of doing nothing?  Going backwards? Getting hit in the face by a baseball bat?  You may be chasing additional demand and/or contributing back to your online community if you are already an established online entity.  You might be looking to engage and interact with existing and new consumers if you currently exist in the traditional bricks and mortal retail led food industry.  You may be seeking to grow into adjacent verticals. Whatever your strategic reasons, for action they need to be strong enough to survive the bumps in the road ahead as there will be many!

Advantages!

Some of the key advantages from entering the online world of food and beverage eTailing are the longer term potential scale advantage that can come quickly if you are successful.  Likewise the plethora of instantaneous data analytics like Google Analytics that can help you pivot and test and adapt much more quickly than through traditional customer/retailer feedback networks.   Recognise that Australian eCommerce market maturity could be as much as 5 to 10 years behind the US and our Australian eCommerce supply chain maturity has some considerable road to run especially in the area of chilled B2C food or meals solutions delivery to consumers doorsteps.  These are significant challenges and can not be underestimated but the early entrants will learn faster and be further down the field as new enabling technologies like drone deliveries or driverless vehicles become very real solutions to today’s very high cost of service to the Australian consumers doorstep.

Omni-Channel

Omni-channel could be a red herring – beware!  The economics are vastly different between off-line and online retail in Australia, however for incumbent off-line retailers who have online eTail offers the commercial incentives are quite simply not there to lower their online prices for their eTail offers such that it would cannibalise their healthy real world margins in bricks n mortar retail.  Let us not forget the significant sunk costs the incumbents have in ‘land banked’ property investments, the enormous number of staff on their books in their shops who would cost $$$ to layoff if their online services took off!

Food Supply to Disruptors

Food manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers are aware of the current industry trends and have a strong willingness to supply new food focused digital startups.  That being said beware the earlier caution about incumbent retailers pressure to stop supply to new entrants.

Price Leadership

Price leadership is of paramount importance online and that could be in part due to the fact that Australian consumers have been trained to expect deals online.  Brands matter online and deep cut discounts bring traffic!

eCommerce US 2013.jpeg

 

Groceries look like the last to take-off in the land of digital commerce.  Online suits small, expensive, commodity driven categories hence why it has disrupted so intensely in travel, music and electrical goods.  Wastage is an important driver in eCommerce in food. Consumers care about their household (average 20%) and supermarket waste (average 35%). This can be a compelling emotive and commercial value proposition for digital disruptors.  Consumers also expect their food in the same condition they find it in store when they get home and see it at their doorstep.

Clearly, we have a long way to go in terms of digital disruption and disruptive innovation in the food industry in Australia and what is around the corner is the million dollar question for startups and incumbents alike.  When an intelligent member of the audience from Nestle Australia asked “what’s the next big thing in terms of disruptive innovation in the food industry in Australia?” to the panel of experts on the stage she got 6 very different answers ranging from predictions of drone and driverless vehicle meals and drinks delivery to consumers demanding a direct interaction with their favourite food producers not only in the social media landscape but in terms of direct purchase and order-to-delivery-to-doorstep.

One thing is certain, the businesses that can have the foresight to anticipate change and react positively to it will be the ones who avoid the baseball bat to the face and will seize the opportunity our new tomorrow brings to us all.  The multi-million dollar business question is which of the incumbents or venture backed startups has both a) the foresight and b) the resilience and bravery to not only see the bat coming but to calmly stand up, reach out and catch it!  When everyone breathes the collective sigh of relief and the startup sits back down in the stands, they will have banked the profits on the table and will be the new incumbent. Go Gators!

MITCH-DAVIE-BAT-Catch

References & Bibliography:

http://businessmodelalchemist.com/tools

AVCAL (2014) Australian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association Ltd

Blank, Steve (2010) Crisis Management by Firing Executives – There’s A Better Way Nov, 18. http://steveblank.com/category/customer-development-manifesto/page/2/

Blank, Steve (2013) Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything, May, Harvard Business Review

Danielle Gould (2014) Food & Ag Investment Sources Explode in 2013  http://www.foodtechconnect.com/2014/01/02/food-ag-investment-sources-explode-2013/ viewed on 11/8/2015

Kowitt, B (2015) Special Report: The War on Big Food Fortune May 21.

Montgomery, M. (2015) How The Tools Of Venture Capital Are Revolutionizing Food July 14 Forbes

Osterwalder, A. Pigneur, Y. Bernarda, G. Smith, A. (2014) Value Proposition Design Wiley.

Osterwalder, A (2013) A Better Way to Think about Your Business Model

Phillips, E. (2015) Food ‘Accelerators’ and the $10 Bag of Pasta The Wall Street Journal Jan 6.

Kolodny, L (2014) Will Investors Still Back Food Startups As Competition Heats Up?

Wall Street Journal July 25.

http://coca-colafounders.com/

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/innovation/

http://www.iamdigital.com.au/2015/02/coles-woolies-vs-kogan-pantry.html

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Why are 74% of all new products flopping in Asia Pacific?

ProductFlop

One of the best ways to overcome price pressure is through new products and still almost three quarters of all new products miss their profit targets according to a recent study of 1,600 managers across 40 countries in Asia Pacific (Tacke, et al, 2014).  We all know we need to focus more of our $, people and time on innovation but how much are we spending solely on new products and product performance vs. the other types of innovation?

Our challenge in the Australian Food Industry right now is to think and act more broadly in your innovation effort to truly disrupt your industry and create a sustainable competitive advantage.  Several years ago Doblin Inc. took three thousand things generally agreed to be innovative and compared them mostly to each other and did that with enough cluster analytics to discover 10 distinct types of innovation (Keeley, 2013).

doblin_ten_types_155111

Product Performance innovation address the value, features, and quality of a company’s offering.  This type of innovation involves entirely new products as well as updates and line extensions that add substantial value. It is only one of the Ten Types of Innovation, and it’s often the easiest for competitors to copy.

Often people mistake Product Performance for the sum of innovation. It is certainly important, but it is always worth remembering that it is only one of the Ten Types of Innovation, and it is often the easiest for competitors to copy. Think about any product or feature war you have witnessed—whether torque and toughness in trucks, toothbrushes that are easier to hold and use, even with baby strollers. Too quickly, it all devolves into an expensive mad dash to parity. Product Performance innovations that deliver long-term competitive advantage are the exception rather than the rule.

The far right delivery types of innovation around Channel, Brand and Customer Experience are more important amplifiers of innovation as are Business Model Innovation and Networking (Partnering).  If you can combine 4, 5 or 6 or more specifically chosen ten types of innovation choosing the ones that others ignore in your industry you will get ‘disruptive’ innovation (Keeley, 2013).

How about we spend more time on the other types of innovation and focus some of our attention to the might higher returns from business model innovation?  What is business model innovation?  Most simply “A business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money” Peter Drucker.

More specifically in constructing a new business model you will need to answer three distinct questions:

  1. Why would someone want to buy something from you?
  2. How will you make money selling it?
  3. What, exactly, are the important things you need to do to pull off the plan? (Johnson, 2010).

Most importantly in your own organisation you will need to create a common language and definition for business model innovation.  Use of visualisation and pictorial storytelling can help with that business model definition and design.  The Business Model Canvas is one diagrammatic framework tool that has gained a lot of attraction and usage to design, refine and build new business models (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010).  There are 9 key elements to constructing a business model canvas and the following short YouTube clip details these very succinctly.

business-model-canvas

There are clearly demonstrated examples in the food industry in Australia, China and globally of companies thinking and acting differently in how they take innovation to market and using business model innovation.  An example close to home here in Australia is www.dishd.com.au

ADRF3083-Dish-d-Chef-s-Specials8-10-14-3

Here a well-established food business saw an opportunity to use technology to disrupt traditional business models and their go to market strategy for new products.  Setting up a small team with key principles of agility & access to leaders the team @dish’ d set about building platforms from which multiple products could be ‘lifted and launched’ sourced from around the world direct to diners doors in Melbourne and Sydney.  Utilising existing partners in logistics the company was able to launch 220 new lines ‘lifted & launched’ in less than 12 months, none of which they had to manufacture themselves, creating a brand new Brand, business, Channel, and customer relationship management model connecting themselves directly with their consumers.  Dish’d saw a gap in the market, trusted their consumer insight and understanding that shoppers were prepared to pay more for good food delivered to their door and went for it with conviction.

SF Best

Further away in China a boom in e-Tailing and e-Commerce has been occurring for some time and a recent example caught my attention.  SF Best launched in June 2014 is another good example of business model innovation.  Selling everything from Chinese organic fresh milk to ice cream and fresh meat and vegetables SF Best from SF Express even delivered cold beer during Soccer World Cup 2014 to thirsty fans doors in 11 cities across China from an App on consumer’s phones.

SF was born in Shunde, Guangdong in 1993.  They are like China’s FedEx and now operate in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, US, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia with 290,000 staff globally. SF Best Fresh Home delivery services launched in June 2014 to 11 cities in China – now number 27!  SF has leveraged their core process competency in logistics into an adjacent industry – eTailing and appears to have hit the ground running!

Last, but not least is a global example of business model innovation from Nestle with their hugely successful Nespresso

nespresso-business-model

Founded in 1986, Nespresso is an autonomous globally managed business of the Nestlé Group, now present in almost 60 countries with more than 9,500 employees worldwide, compared to 331 in 2000 with over 70% of employees in the markets in direct contact with consumers.  50% of new Club Members experience Nespresso for the first time through friends and family.  Nespresso has over 3 million Facebook fans and 180,000 unique customers visit our online boutique every day.  George Clooney, Nespresso brand ambassador since 2005, was chosen by Nespresso Club Members.

George Clooney

Nespresso exemplifies business model innovation from partnering through to customer relationship management and channel innovation with their mail order, call centre, Nespresso.com and Nespresso stores.  All elements of the business model canvas are worked hard and in concert and the business has benefited from 10+ years of 30% Year on Year growth to become a CHF3b business on its own today for Nestle.

Business model innovation is not easy and your thoughts probably turn to ‘how do we start doing this?’  You can start by following some simple tips to design, refine and test your new business models using ‘lean’ teams and start up like activity within your own businesses.

Two Pizzas

Remember the 2 Pizzas Rule: Small Focused Teams who can be fed on no more than 2 pizzas.  Every team should number not more than 7 people as every person in addition to the 7th member of the team is a 10% decline in team productivity to the point where if you have 17 people on the team you have 0% productivity and a team talking to themselves (Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com; Scott Anthony ,2013).

Push to learn in market “Get out of the building!”  Here is a litmus test to gauge the degree to which you are following the approach described. Ask the team the ratio of their time spent preparing materials for management (or conducting desk research to feed into materials for management) versus time spent with customers, developing products, or talking to potential partners. If the ratio is higher than 1:3, you have a problem (Scott Anthony, 2013).

Measure learning, not results.  We are in new territory here exploring new ways of working and doing business, looking for customers, asking them about what problems they have, etc.  You need to be asking your teams “What did you learn? What do you still not know?”  Venture fund the team with sufficient funding to address critical uncertainties.  If they answer those uncertainties fund them to the next gate of decision making but do not automatically fund projects into infinity.  Be prepared to decide and act fast, pivot, lean and learn is your modus operandi.

Lastly make sure the decision makers with the right experience guide the team.  The role of the business leaders is more coach and mentor or venture capitalist as opposed to Go / Kill gatekeepers.  Early team mentoring sessions could be answering and solving problems / opportunity like ‘who is our customer?’ ‘what are their problems that remain unsolved?’ ‘what are their unmet needs’ and ‘who can we partner with to move faster?’

ten-types-of-innovation1

No one said innovation would be easy least of all when you are working on multiple types of innovation all in the same project at the same time.  You need to be doing that to make a real impact in your industry and disrupt your competitors and create sustainable competitive advantage.  We all share the same information on global NPD and research and can ‘copycat’ faster than ever the latest new product. To pull away from the pack you are going to have to work smarter not harder on how you take innovation to market and working with innovation partners to guide you into unchartered waters is one way to help you stay honest to your objectives to think and act differently.  After all if all we continue to do is keep launching new products through the same channels expecting a different result, are we simple insane?  We know 74% of all new products flop so why not invest some of your valuable $, people and time in other types of innovation as well as product performance.

Dermott Dowling is Managing Director @Creatovate, Innovation & International Business consultancy. Creatovate help businesses create innovate and grow through improved idea-to-innovation process. Contact Dermott if your business needs help improving your innovation processes or expanding your business internationally.

References:

Scott Anthony (2013) Five Ways to Innovate Faster http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/07/how-to-innovate-faster/ July 30 retrieved on 14/10/2014

Mark W. Johnson (2010). A New Framework for Business Models January 21, HBR Blogs

Larry Keeley, Bansi Nagji, Helen Walters (2013). Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs, John Wiley & Sons.

Larry Keeley (2013) Ten Types of Innovation, YouTube, published 12 July http://youtu.be/vJ5Jq3MyXAk viewed on 14th Oct 2014

Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur (2010) Business Model Generation John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey

Alexander Osterwalder (2013) A Better Way to Think About Your Business Model May 6, http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/a-better-way-to-think-about-yo/ retrieved on 13.10.14

ALEXANDER OSTERWALDER (2010) COMBINING BUSINESS MODEL PROTOTYPING, CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT, AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP AUGUST 05, http://businessmodelalchemist.com/blog/2010/08/combining-business-model-prototyping-customer-development-and-social-entrepreneurship.html viewed on 15/10/2014

http://www.nestle.com/csv/case-studies/AllCaseStudies/Ecolaboration-Nespresso-platform-sustainable-innovation viewed on 13th Oct 2014

http://www.nestle-nespresso.com/about-us/facts-and-figures viewed on 13th Oct 2014

George Tacke, Jochen Krauss, Fan Chen & Jan Haemer (2014) http://www.simon-kucher.com/sites/default/files/simon-kucher_global_pricing_study_2014_apac.pdf retrieved on 6th Nov 2014

http://www.sf-express.com/cn/en/news/SF-Best-Creates-the-Ultimate-Cold-Chain-Service-Door-to-Door-Distribution-of-Imported-Cold-Beers-During-FIFA-World-Cup-Brazil/ retrieved on 6th Nov 2014.


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