And I'm not alone.
Four colleagues and I met this week to download our collective insights to share with our company and our clients. The flurry of actionable ideas were a reinforcement of our vision of the future.
One keynote in particular helped to crystallize my ideas about how critical it is for market research organizations to dynamically reinvent their business models. Ron Williams (check out his blog) called it "Beyond Business Model Innovation: Embedding Innovation in Everyday Business When the Customer Makes the Rules” based on his book entitled “The Value Path.”
In simplistic terms, Williams asserts that enduringly successful companies embrace a “value architecture” consisting of three key factors:
1) The "value narrative," or clear
articulation of a company's uniqueness beyond how its sector defines it (i.e. we’re
a brick and mortar retailer).
2) The creation of a "value engine" oriented toward offering customers value in a world where their choices continually evolve. This stands in stark contrast to only invest in making a better buggy whip.
3) An "opportunity platform" that extends beyond internally-focused R&D to include strategic alliances that create "ecocomplexes."
In order for market research firms to transition from data collectors and insight messengers to value creators, it’s going to take more than acquiring each other to "scale up.” Nor can we simply reposition our approaches as something hipper and sexier. That's just putting lipstick on the proverbial pig.
Williams calls us to fundamentally change our DNA and worldview of what we actually deliver to our customers. To accomplish this, we need to reimagine our core competencies to innovatively create new catalysts for growth and disruption. Will this be easy? No. But is it necessary? Absolutely. And it will require a new commitment for all of us.
Business model innovation is not a destination. It's a journey. That's Williams' message. Given the weight of evidence of his work, it's a journey we all need to take lest we find ourselves in the company of Blockbuster, Kodak and HP.
Let the journey begin.