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BW Businessworld

What Customers Want

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The world of management books, which is inundated with many titles on the creation, sustenance and evolution of value in enterprises and business, got another member in its fraternity. Authors Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, Alan Smith (co-author and art direction) and Trish Papadakos (design) have created this handbook, as a perfect sequel to their Business Model Generation. The authors call themselves the Strategyzer crew, as they run an eponymous website.

The authors had introduced the nine building blocks:  customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships, and cost structure, as part of their the business generation model (BGM) canvas. While the BGM canvas creates value for your business, the value proposition (VP) canvas helps you create value for your customers. The authors claim the VP canvas is a plug-in tool to the business model (BM) canvas and just like the BM canvas allows you to visualise business models, the VP canvas allows you to visualise value propositions in greater detail. Both canvases work hand in hand and this is especially valid as value propositions and customer segments live inside the framework of the BM canvas and expatiate upon it.

The authors approach starts from the VP canvas, which sets the stage for further design thinking leading to testing and followed with monitoring of the metrics leading to evolution of the value proposition. The design, test and evolution cycle is an iterative and never-ending process in such a way that the value proposition is always kept relevant to customers. By observing and identifying the customer's task and understanding their needs and their pains (problems) and gains (outcomes or benefits), design thinkers need to develop a product or a service that delivers value. And this is one of the best ways of achieving the product-market fit.

Though the colourful diagrams and emoticons make the text engaging, overdose of it throughout the book leads to some distractions as some of the emoticons are not exactly relevant. The book is primarily meant for practitioners who can make extensive use of frameworks and guidelines as part of their design thinking. 

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 04-05-2015)

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magazine books venkatraman s magazine 13 may 2015