What has consistently separated winning schools from losing schools in creating competitive advantage has been their approach to creating an Easy – To – Identify strategy.
The schools that have been lost in the crowd have mostly followed a conventional approach, imitating what winning schools are doing while they forget that strategy works best only in its birth structure. They are racing to beat the competition by maintaining a defensible position within the existing industry order. They simply forget that the schools that have stood out of the competition, surprisingly, didn’t use the competition as their benchmark. Instead, they consciously or unconsciously followed a different strategic logic that they called VALUE INNOVATION.
Value innovation is the cornerstone of developing an Easy – To – Identify strategy. Value innovation, instead of focusing on beating the competition, focuses on making the competition irrelevant by creating a leap in value for customers of your school and thereby opening up new and uncontested market space. Value innovation places equal emphasis on value and innovation. Value without innovation tends to focus on value creation on an incremental scale, something that improves value but is not sufficient to make you stand out in the marketplace, why? It is common already.
Innovation without value tends to be technology-driven, market pioneering, or futuristic, often shooting beyond what parents (customers of your school) are ready to accept and pay for. In this sense, it is important to distinguish between value innovation as opposed to technology innovation and market pioneering. Value innovation occurs only when a school aligns innovation with customer satisfaction, profitability, and cost positions. Simply put, value innovation is identifying the hidden or unmet needs of new and existing customers, creating business value by adding service that meets these needs profitability thereby assuming a price giver market position.
A very good example is the finger print sensors added to iPhone 5, which offers the value of privacy and data security to its customers, set it aside as a more personalized and luxurious brand, boasting iPhone as the lowest cost mobile as then to have finger print security, and affording it profitability by setting higher price for this new feature. If they fail to anchor innovation with value in this way, Apple, makers of iPhone would be seen to be technologically innovative and market pioneering and also laying the eggs that other to hatch.
Value innovation is a not a new way of thinking about and executing strategy that results in in an Easy – To – Identify School that breaks away from the competition.
Value innovation defies one of the most commonly accepted dogmas of competition-based strategy: the value – cost trade-off. It is conventionally believed that schools can either create greater value to customers at a higher cost or create reasonable value at a lower cost. Value Innovation as an Easy – To – Identify school strategy is not about making a choice between differentiation and low cost. In fact, schools that seek to create an Easy – To – Identify school must pursue differentiation and low cost simultaneously.
Simply put, you create a new value that stands you out of the crowd first and set the price, every other school becomes a price taker; they either set their price higher or lower when offering the same value. But yours would have afforded both differentiation and low cost from the onset.
Caveat : Value Innovation is a continuous effort that needs to become part of your school business operation to ensure you become an Easy – To – Identify school.