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The Vocabulary Of Strategy, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship

Kavi Guppta

Whether you’re new to the world of Value Proposition Design and Business Model Generation, or simply need a refresh, here are key phrases that will help you to better articulate your approach to business strategy and innovation within your company.

I’ve also included some quick links to important blog posts, tools, videos, and examples that will help strengthen your skills with these key phrases or concepts.

(Business) Hypothesis
Something that needs to be true for your idea to work partially or fully but that hasn't been validated yet.

See: Good Ideas Are Bad For Innovators.

Business Model                    
Rationale of how an organization creates, delivers and captures value.

See: Why some business models are better than others.

Business Model Canvas                    
Strategic management tool to design, test, build, and manage (profitable and scalable) business models.

See: 14 Ways To Apply The Business Model Canvas.

Business Tools
Conceptual frameworks that are specifically designed to help business practitioners solve a concrete (and limited) business problem in a real-world context. The best tools are conceptually sound, simple, practical, visual, with a great user interface (UI) and a great user experience (UX). These characteristics makes them fit for the real world and increases adoption by business practitioners.

See: The Toolbox Every Company Needs To Perform Strategy & Innovation.

Call to Action (CTA)
Prompts a subject to perform an action; used in an experiment in order to test one or more hypotheses.

Chief Entrepreneur
someone who can lead the future of the company while the CEO takes cares of running the existing business. This is a huge divergence from the traditional norm for chief roles, but the CE is a necessary position of power to ensure that a company innovates.

See: The C-Suite Needs A Chief Entrepreneur.

Chief Internal Ambassador
The Chief Internal Ambassador knows everything that’s going on in both sides of the company. The CIA knows all of the resources, activities, and patents that exist on the execution arm of the organization, and also has the trust of the powerful people that manage them. The CIA makes sure the Chief Entrepreneur and the team benefits from the strengths of the existing company by negotiating access to elements like clients, a salesforce, the brand, and its skills. This role is the link between the existing company and its innovative partner. Communication on each other’s progress will be integral to finding the right relationship between both sides.

See: Chief Internal Ambassador, The Bridge Builder For Your Company's Future.

Customer Development                    
Four-step process invented by Steve Blank to reduce the risk and uncertainty in entrepreneurship by continuously testing the hypotheses underlying a business model with customers and stakeholders.

Customer Insight                    
Minor or major breakthrough in your customer understanding helping you design better value propositions and business models.

See: 8 Tips For Conducting Interviews That Deliver Relevant Customer Insights.

Customer Profile                    
Business tool that constitutes the right-hand side of the Value Proposition Canvas. Visualizes the jobs, pains, and gains of a customer segment (or stakeholder) you intend to create value for.

Environment Map                    
Strategic foresight tool to map the context in which you design and manage value propositions and business models.

See: How To Scan Your Business Model Environment For Disruptive Threats & Opportunities.

(Business) Experiment/Test                    
A procedure to validate or invalidate a value proposition or business model hypothesis that produces evidence.

When your products and services create customer value because they address relevant jobs, pains, and gains that matter to your customers. There are three types of fit: problem-solution fit; product-market fit; and business model fit.

See: Survival Of The Fittest.

Jobs to be done                    
What customers need, want, or desire to get done in their work and in their lives.

Lean Startup                    
Approach by Eric Ries based on the Customer Development process to eliminate waste and uncertainty from product development by continuously building, testing, and learning in an iterative fashion.

See: 5 Lean Startup Essentials To Reduce Risk & Uncertainty.

Learning Card                    
Strategic learning tool to capture insights from research and experiments.

See: Capture Customer Insights And Actions With The Learning Card.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
A model of a value proposition designed specifically to validate or invalidate one or more hypotheses.

See: Don’t Build When You Build-Measure-Learn.

Progress Board                    
Strategic management tool to manage and monitor the business model and value proposition design process and track progress towards a successful value proposition and business model.

See: From Idea To Business With Lean Startup & The Progress Board.

Prototyping (low/high fidelity)
The practice of building quick, inexpensive, and rough study models to learn about the desirability, feasibility and viability of alternative value propositions and business models.

See: Don’t Fall In Love With Your First Ideas.

Search & Implement
A constant back and forth between where you design and test business models and value propositions. You continually iterate between what you design and what you test (implementation) until you find a value proposition that customers want, that can also be embedded into a scalable and profitable business model.

See: Search = Design, Test, Learn, And Iterate.

Test Card
Strategic testing tool to design and structure your research and experiments.

See: Test Your Ideas With The Test Card.

Validate/Invalidate (Tests)
A series of hypotheses you will test that will either prove your assumptions to be correct or incorrect. The outcomes from these tests will help you understand the viability of your business idea.

See: 13 Traps That Can Render Your Market Research Irrelevant.

Value Map  
Business tool that constitutes the left-hand side of the Value Proposition Canvas. Makes explicit how your products and services create value by alleviating pains and creating gains.

Value Proposition                    
Describes the benefits customers can expect from your products and services.

Value Proposition Canvas                    
Strategic management tool to design, test, build, and manage products and services. Fully integrates with the Business Model Canvas.

See: 5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using The Value Proposition Canvas.

Value Proposition Design                
The process of designing, testing, building, and managing value propositions over their entire lifecycle.

See: Why We Created Value Proposition Design.

Let's keep this list growing. What other key phrases would you add? Share yours in the comments.

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