Our first blog of this 4-part series delved into the multifaceted nature of customer value. With this foundation, let’s explore the vital networks where this value is exchanged, enhanced, and realized: The Value Networks. These networks represent the complex interplay of relationships and interactions in the business world, a theme we'll explore further in this blog.
Understanding value networks
Consider the ecosystem of the National Football League (NFL), a prime example of a robust Value Network. Extending beyond the thrill of the game, the league engages fans at every touchpoint—ticket sales, stadium experiences, merchandise, and digital interactions. Similarly, enterprises must discern the multifaceted journeys their customers undertake and the various touchpoints that can be leveraged to amplify value.
Value network for the NFL fans
As mentioned in my earlier blog, it is important to understand that value cannot be unilaterally delivered by an organization but emerges from the collaborative interactions between a company and all the stakeholders, most notably its fans.
Fan is a core a value network, where each interaction, and engagement contributes to a grander value creation narrative.
- Digital engagement: Enhance digital platforms to be more interactive and user-friendly. Feature personalized content, live updates, and unique fan features on mobile apps and websites.
- Stadium tech: Modernize stadium experiences with advanced technology, including high-definition screens and augmented reality, to immerse fans in the action.
- Social media: Strengthen fan communities online. Encourage user-generated content, host interactive sessions, and provide exclusive digital content on social platforms.
- Merchandising: Expand and diversify merchandise offerings, from customizable jerseys to products reflecting the team’s brand, catering to various fan segments.
- Game day: Elevate game day experiences with unique activities like fan zones and meet-and-greets, tailored to diverse fan interests.
- Customer service: Implement a comprehensive customer service system, focusing on responsive support, clear communication, and continuous improvement.
- Youth programs: Deepen community ties through youth engagement initiatives like camps and school programs, fostering a new generation of fans.
- Global expansion: Develop strategies to grow the fan base internationally, through multi-language broadcasts, international games, and global partnerships.
Applying systems thinking approach
Value Networks, as highlighted by Schmidt, involve the internal and external stakeholders who contribute to the narrative of value. The systems thinking approach, reminiscent of Eli Goldratt's insights in “The Goal,” teaches us to see this narrative as a series of interconnected processes and relationships, rather than isolated events or functions. It's about understanding the holistic picture—the complete story of how value is created, maximized, and eventually consumed by the NFL fan.
Being a part of this network means you're part of the story of value creation. Whether you develop cloud solutions or integrate complex systems, you contribute to a symphony of service. The challenge, as Goldratt illustrates, is in optimizing these contributions to enhance the overall narrative of value, reducing bottlenecks, and streamlining interactions.
Evolving roles of business and technology leaders in all businesses
The role of product managers is evolving to encompass a broad view of these value networks. They must now look outward to comprehend market trends and customer feedback while simultaneously steering internal development teams. The goal is to ensure that product evolution not only aligns with but anticipates customer needs and preferences.
As we revisit the agile principles that once revolutionized software development, we are reminded of their core intent—delivering value through meaningful products and services. Unfortunately, some agile practices have become checkboxes rather than paths to delivering genuine value. It's time to reforge these principles in the context of today's value networks, focusing on meaningful and purposeful delivery of services.
Looking ahead, the conversation about value networks is incomplete without mentioning the emerging leaders who will carry the torch. These individuals who, unburdened by past failures, can approach value delivery with a fresh perspective and not just look at the internal picture of value streams but understand the interconnectivity between value streams > customer journeys and their value networks and the impact on “Value”. They will be the catalysts for the dynamic and continuous adaptation of value networks, customer journeys and value streams. We'll be covering more on the customer experience in value networks in our next post.
In conclusion, businesses must diligently map and understand their value networks, tapping into every node that can enhance the customer's journey to unlock the flow and realize value. As we continue to push the boundaries of value delivery, let's keep the customer's experience at the center of our strategies, ensuring that each innovation not only adds to the bottom line but enriches the customer's interaction with the product and the brand. After all, in the intricate dance of value creation, the customer's steps are the most critical.
- Schmidt, M. (2023). Presentation at Forrester Technology and Innovation EMEA conference, London, 12–13 October. Retrieved from https://www.information-age.com/forrester-defining-driving-tech-value-for-cios-123507544/
- Schmidt, M. (2022). Value for Customers withMaxie Schmidt - 84. [Podcast]. CX Goalkeeper. Retrieved from https://cxgoalkeeper.com/2022/07/25/maxieschmidt/