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SBDC Director Presents at Chamber's First Brains and Grains Networking Event

Tony Palamone, director of the IUP Small Business Development Center, recently gave a presentation entitled “Leapfrog the Competition: Thriving in a Rapidly Changing World” at the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce’sfirst “Brains & Grains” event. The presentation introduced participants to several approaches to rethinking their business model and their key value propositions.

Approaches introduced were:

  • Using the Business Model Canvas as a group thinking tool
  • Parallel and Lateral Thinking
  • Designing the customer experience

The Business Model Canvas puts forth a simple definition of a business model as the way a business creates, delivers, and captures value. Business Model Generation, published in 2010, was written by the creator of the Business Model Canvas with the collaboration of hundreds of business consultants in an open process. The canvas itself provides an easy way to break down and understand a company’s business model and to potentially devise innovative new approaches. It is useful as a group thinking tool with existing and start-up enterprises. More information can be found at Business Model Generation.

Parallel and Lateral Thinking arose with the work of Edward DeBono and offers ways to make meetings more effective and techniques to generate new ideas and approaches. Parallel thinking is a method designed to make meetings more efficient. Lateral thinking is an insight tool. Creativity is a result. Lateral thinking is the description of the process. In lateral thinking, one uses provocation to generate many hypotheses as opposed to one, because often a hypothesis, which is a creative account, can also be a pattern it is hard to see past. As unreasonable as some hypotheses may be, we need to hold several hypotheses to generate new insight.

DeBono has written many books on the topic, including Six ThinkingHats, Lateral Thinking, and Serious Creativity, which at first sounds like an oxymoron, until you understand his approach is not undirected brainstorming, but a directed process.

Designing the Customer Experience relates to the reality that experience has become a key differentiator. It is a key value added component that helps customers choose one product or service over another. The progression of economic value proceeds from a commodities through products and services on to staging an experience. Modern customers often have to be engaged through experience.

If you desire more information on any of these topics, contact Tony Palamone (724) 357-7915 or tpalamon@iup.edu.

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