I founded Vianeo 10 years ago in order to provide innovators with a robust strategic, market driven assessment method. The Business Design Method enables to transmute an idea into a fully-fledged innovation project.
It is deployed in workshops moderated by certified consultants. It explores the 5 facets of a successful project: legitimacy, desirability, acceptability, feasibility and viability. A software platform supports the implementation with two deliverables: feedbacks to the project creator regarding the project itself, and communication material ready to share to stakeholders (management, business angels, external partners…).
The Vianeo’s method has been field-tested several thousand times across a wide scope of sectors and organizations: public R&D centers, startups, big enterprises. It has gained enough credentials and customer trust to consider moving to a broader market deployment.
4 reasons to believe in the upside potential of Vianeo
1- We solve problems for innovators and large scale companies
Innovators are passionate people that have strong biases towards the project they are carrying out. On the one hand they often admit that they do not have all skills requested to convert their idea into a well-defined project. On the other hand, they have to communicate with their management or external financing partners to discuss the project status and the next steps. And those are not short of cognitive biases either!
In the recent past some big organizations have toyed with the idea that innovation can only come from outside startups and garages. Pervasive de-risking practices would forbid employees to take bold initiatives and consider uncertainties. This belief has a devastating effect on employee motivation, as well as on the recruitment of young talents. By chance, this myth has been debunked by Silicon Valley companies and new innovation practices.
The Business Design Method pushes back the boundaries of fear and uncertainty:
- It unleashes the intrapreneurial potential of employees who would not have dared before to present an innovation project in front of their management.
- It provides the senior management / financing partners / incubators with a standard method to efficiently screen all projects, engage into a spot-on discussion with innovators, and take the right decisions.
2- The market is ripe for generic innovation management approaches
I have observed among top managers 3 maturity levels regarding innovation:
- Level 1 is the top-down evangelization. Leaders call for innovation as a strategic imperative.
- Level 2 sees the multiplication of creative workshops, breakthrough seminars, participative intrapreneurship events, hackathons, innovation awards ceremonies etc. Many people feel encouraged to stand up with new ideas.
- Level 3 is reached when the senior management is eager to embed into core processes reference innovation management tools.
Our customers have intensively tested and benchmarked our method since years. Today the request I hear more and more frequently is to deploy our method at a broader scale, across all departments and business lines. The aim is to provide internal innovators with the right support, and embed into routines the cultural transformation they have engaged. Vianeo is clearly filling a gap.
3- Market value is the holy Grail
R&D intensive companies are traditionally working in a techno-push mode. My view is that engineers and searchers need to use themselves the key notions of marketing in order to fully master their project scope. Most of them feel cut from the realities of their end market. The Vianeo methods provides them a way to get inspired by realities.
Our customers have become more and more aware of the necessity to zero in on market value: customer pain points, unmet needs, willingness to pay, comparative value provided by the innovation versus the next best alternative etc. The Vianeo method helps them to explore the value fields in a user friendly, yet in depth way.
4- Vianeo method is unique
Numerous offers have been mushrooming on the market for innovation management tools: the Design Thinking, the Blue Ocean Strategy, the Lean Startup, the Business Model Canvas, the CK breakthrough innovation theory, crowd innovation … Ours has no equivalent when it comes to transforming an idea into an impacting project.
It raises vital questions like:
- It there a market need?
- Does it comply with users’ real-life usages and expectations?
- Does our organization have the legitimacy to support the offer?
It is systemic
- It goes far beyond the request to check the 19 key variables on which a market strategy is based: it addresses the relationships between them: are they consistent with each other?
It is human centric
- We make project innovators smarter;
- We empower entire teams to shape their project, and therefore pave the way for agile, efficient implementation;
- We provide a reference management tool to decision makers.
We manage it as a platform
- the Vianeo platform is a standard, market driven innovation workflow from the idea to the project selection stage, utilized by several stakeholders;
- It is widely accessible whatever the background of the innovator, and applicable whatever the end market;
- We have gone to great lengths to improve the user experience of our approach, and reach a high level of intuitiveness;
- We want to accumulate experience and to keep on sharpening our consultant expertise as updating our software platform.
Our scale up plan in the near future
Our business model is scalable: We bill our customers subscriptions fees to access to our software platform, altogether with consulting fees to train our customers and moderate workshops. The assets we will invest in to grow are twofold:
- A network of certified consultants;
- A software platform to support the innovator throughout the whole project, from the idea maturation to the project communication with potential sponsors.
We target to grow in big, international companies in need of deploying at a large scale their innovation strategy: the Vianeo platform will have a strong debottlenecking effect.