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Archive for November 2011

Small Firms Business Research Initiative

SBRI is a programme that brings innovative solutions to specific public sector needs, by engaging a broad range of companies in competitions for ideas that result in short-term development contracts.

Key features:

  • SBRI is a programme of open competitions for ideas and new technologies.
  • It results in a fully funded development contract between the company and the government department – it is not a government grant.
  • It generally has a two-phased development approach that starts with initial feasibility and can then move on to more detailed product development.
  • It is a fast track, simplified process that allows government departments and other public bodies to engage with business they would not normally work with.
  • It is particularly suitable for SME and early stage businesses and gives vital funding for the critical stage of product development.
  • The government department (or public sector body) acts as the lead customer and is instrumental in helping the business develop its product or technology.
  • It should result in a commercial product or service.
  • The intellectual property is retained by the company, with certain rights of use held by the department.

The Technology Strategy Board champions SBRI which is focused on technology development and specific competitions.

For more information email: sbri@tsb.gov.uk

See also: http://www.innovateuk.org/deliveringinnovation/smallbusinessresearchinitiative/whatissbri.ashx

And call me, Steve Herman, on 07825-189263 if you want to discuss this option.

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Complexity v Chaos

What’s the difference between complexity and chaos?

Complex systems, under certain conditions, can perform in regular, predictable ways and, under other conditions, exhibit behaviour in which predictability is lost.  Small differences in the initial starting conditions lead to large differences in outcomes. Complexity theorists like to explore the activity of complex systems at the edge of chaos, where systems exist on the cusp of too much and too little order. Such systems act as wholes but are nevertheless far from equilibrium and capable of undergoing rapid and radical transformations in order to adjust to changes in their environment.

Chaos theories, by contrast, look for patterns of order in chaotic systems. Chaos in these terms refers to behaviour which, though it has certain regularities, defies prediction. Forecasting the weather is hard, yet the Thames (hardly ever) freezes and Auckland is not monsoonal. Chaos is about bounded instability, the unpredictability of specific behaviour within a predictable general structure.

If you are still confused or want to know how to adapt  your business strategies for success in a complex and chaotic world, mail me, steve@targetmanagementadvisory.co.uk

Chaos and complexity

 

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Value propositions for success

MAXIMISING CUSTOMER DEMAND IN TOUGH TIMES

THROUGH “PROPOSITIONS OF VALUE”

SUMMARY

KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SELLING, WHO YOU ARE SELLING IT TO AND TELL THEM WHAT YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE CAN DO FOR THEM SPECIFICALLY.

IN GEEKSPEAK:

Maximize customer demand and fend off the competition through techniques proven and used by some of the most successful companies in the UK. Here’s how to adapt and implement the marketing strategies of successful large corporates for use by SMEs. And the flexibility inherent in smaller companies lets you to do it better than the big boys! 

  • A value proposition is no more than the combination of product, service, pricing and delivery system offered to the customer. 
  • But to maximise customer demand, an individual value proposition needs to be created for each target customer segment by strategically balancing these four factors. 
  • To do this, you need a clear understanding of your sources of advantage in providing value and creating fit with target customer segments. You also need to anticipate customer value migrating and shifting and think about how to expand your offering appropriately to sustain competitive advantage. 
  • Before a value proposition is developed, you need to first assesses the most promising target customers by segmenting them according to need, demography, and behaviour – all with an eye toward profitability.
  • Then you need to translate your customers’ needs and desires into an improved value proposition by adjusting the product offering, the services given and the means of distribution.

Only by creating appropriate value propositions, can you hope to leverage strengths and optimise resources with the goal of increasing market share of the target segments. 

Call me, Steve Herman, on 07825-189263 or e-mail me at steve@targetmanagementadvisory.co.uk to find out how we can help you maximize customer demand and fend off the competition.

 

 

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Benefits of a facilitated workshop

Half-day or whole day workshops are a very effective method of problem solving, issue resolution or getting concensus on a way forward. Business decisions or issue resolution can be achieved in a condensed time span, at lower cost and with a higher degree of expert involvement than by traditional methods.  Particularly complex issues or political situation can be managed in the facilitated environment in a way that is simply not possible in the normal work situation.

Business decisions or issue resolution can be achieved in a condensed time span, at lower cost and with a higher degree of expert involvement than by traditional methods.  Particularly complex issues or political situation can be managed in the facilitated environment in a way that is simply not possible in the normal work situation.

Issues or problems arise in business generally as the result of change or the need for change. This may be in the context of a project or initiative or as the result of competitive pressure, market forces or regulatory change. Facilitated workshops provide a controlled environment in which the decision makers and experts can consider options, consequences and solutions. The environment set up by a skilled facilitator can be apolitical or ‘failure free’ as is necessary in the circumstances. This psychological positioning is vital if good decisions are to be made for the benefit of those aspects deemed important to the organisation at large.

Resources are dedicated to the workshop or series of workshops over a short period, as opposed to a smaller resource over a longer period as is common with traditional techniques. The workshop itself represents an intense and highly productive environment.

The concentration of effort in a single day or half-day facilitated workshop shortens overall elapsed time if only by providing a clear process and time span in which a decision making process is to take place. When consensus is achieved during these workshops, it tends to be binding – the participants will tend to live with the consensus decisions of the group as long as it is feasible. As public forums, the workshops alter the psychology of the decision making process, giving an overt milestone to which the whole team works.

Workshops improve team communications and result in team based solutions, not apparently arbitrary or dogmatic decisions. This communication promotes co-operation and commitment to the results. Workshops improve relations between the participants and promotes cooperation and commitment between the customers, suppliers and managers involved in the process. Participating departments often quote the improvement in nterpersonal relations as one of the greatest, though immeasurable, benefits of the facilitated workshop process.

Whatever the duration, good workshops are considered equally valuable. However, from these figures the longer workshops proved to be more consistent and reliable in their ability to turn out good results.

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