Opportunity for SME and Entrepreneurs in LLabs and Social Spaces of Research and Innovation
Social Spaces for research and Innovation (SSRI)
By Ignacio Pérez Alcázar
For those familiar with the Social Spaces of Research and Innovation (SSRI), they are spaces where testing initial business hypotheses on the market, and even gathering real needs, which can become opportunities –in reality a need doesn’t become into an opportunity until it is expressed as a value proposition in the context of a business model.
The SSRI provides relevant information on the market a small business owner or entrepreneur can tap on to define its value proposition, pivoting on the client-user. Thus, the entity that manages an SSRI may provide the information you really need the entrepreneur to transform it into an opportunity. By analogy, in Social Innovation Spaces are rough diamonds, polished-the entrepreneur with the right tools to turn it into a diamond, which is the business opportunity.
As an entrepreneur, what I really need (1) is to know the customer and competition, hence, the market. I need to know what are the market needs and to state them in terms of outcomes for my client: work you they need to be done, outcomes they have to get, or limitations that must be overcome (What Customers Want, A.W. Ulwick, 2005)
Once I have got this information (2) I wonder, among other things, Who am I, what can I contribute with my experience / with my product to meet those needs, what do I provide that do not add others, How can I do it with the resources I have got, Who can I take into account with –collaborators.
Adapting my skills, my experience and my product to the real needs, the opportunities appear. (3) My value proposition is I, and how I can help answer those needs.
“Test, test and fail as soon as possible”
Now I have stated my first business hypothesis –a series of conjectures that have got relevance because they come from the market. (4) However, I have to test these business hypotheses, learn and re-state the hypothesis until the business model design has sufficient market evidences to allow me to write, now, a business plan, which I feel comfortable with and capable to communicate.
A cover of the “generation of business models” (A. Osterwalder, 2010) to the Social Spaces of Research and Innovation pivots on the customer instead of pivoting on the value proposition. Now the value proposition becomes a “How I can help the customer to solve or satisfy a need, with my product / my service / or my Know How.”
The model helps to match the value proposition to the customer needs, focusing on jobs that need to be made, outcomes and constraints, with my product or my skills, rather than focus it on my product or my skills.
To realize how I, the entrepreneur, can provide an answer to these needs and design a model on a real opportunity, I must not forget to ask about who and how “others” are giving a solution to this need.
Now, the value proposition that I, the Entrepreneur, can offer to customers is supported on real evidences. I can now generate a business model prototype including what resources I have got around me to do it (we cannot forget that, in these times, we just can count with few resources apart of my own resources) and finally, what our revenue streams model will be.
This will be our first hypothesis, which we’ll test in the social space of research and innovation with “customers”. We have to know that our customers understand what we provide –the value proposition, which actually comply a mission (work, outcome, constraint) and whether the customer is willing to pay for that value, as we have stated.
Once we have tested the basis of our model, we can proceed with the following assumptions about the service –the service design, so that we can write the production/operations model, concluding finally with the business plan –to get the approval of private investors or funding agencies.
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