April 19, 2015

Book Review : Value Proposition Design

(This book review was published in the Business World magazine dated 4-May-2015)

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. Alexander Osterwalder(author), Yves Pigneur (co-author), Greg Bernarda (co-author), Alan Smith (co-author and art direction) and Trish Papadakos (design) have created the handbook titled ‘Value Proposition Design – How to create Products and services customers want’. The book comes as a perfect sequel to their earlier book titled 'Business Model Generation'. The set of authors call themselves the Strategyzer crew, as they run a website of the namesake.

The authors had introduced the nine Building Blocks, namely 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 VP Canvas is a plug-in tool to the Business Model(BM) Canvas and just like the BM Canvas allows you to visualize Business Models, the VP Canvas allows you to visualize Value Propositions in greater detail. Both canvases perfectly integrate and work hand in hand and this statement 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 constant monitoring of the metrics leading to evolution of the value proposition. The Design, Test and Evolve cycle is an iterative and never ending process in such a way that the value proposition is always kept relevant to the 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. The authors conveniently call this as Pain Relievers and Gain Creators in the Value Map.

Though the colorful diagrams and emoticons make the text engaging, overdose of it though out the book does cause some color-overload and leads to some distractions as some of the emoticons are not exactly relevant. The book is primarily meant for practitioners who can make use extensive use of frameworks and guidelines as part of their design thinking.
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