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Industria 4.0, Big Data Analytics, emprendimiento digital y nuevos modelos de negocio

Which abilities are needed in a startup team as they progress in their search for the business model? The “five abilities to innovate” model by Juan José Goñi

The concept of “startup” can be understood as an organizational model for the initial steps of an entrepreneurial initiative, focused on searching and experimenting in order to find a repeatable and scalable business model. It is therefore a temporary organizational model before arranging a better suited organization to exploit the defined business model. As a result of this, our organization’s goal and the necessary abilities in the team change as we advance through these steps. Which abilities are more relevant depending on the phase we are in? The “five basic abilities to innovate” posed by Juan José Goñi (and its analogy with five birds’ specific abilities) provide us with a very useful model to analyze it.

In his book (in Spanish) "Mentefactura: El cambio del modelo productivo. Innovar sobre intangibles del trabajo y la empresa" (Ediciones Díaz de Santos, 2012), Juan José Goñi includes a section where he explains the “five basic abilities to innovate”, which are necessary to a different extent as the startup progresses in its search for the business model. This model is closely connected with Steve Blank’s definition of the concept of startup, where he identifies two very different phases: the search for a repeatable and scalable business model, and the subsequent execution of it. Let’s see the synergies between both models and how they reinforce each other.

The three first abilities to innovate posed by Juan José Goñi (and the birds whose abilities illustrate them) are:
  • To observe (the owl). This covers not only looking, but also defining the purpose of the observation and gathering information aligned with such goal. We should define the object of observation as well as the method and the effort.
  • To create something new (the hummingbird). This is the ability to generate original ideas and solutions, where creativity techniques are a very useful tool.
  • To build (the stork). This ability is related to the generation of prototypes/MVPs to experiment with the identified solution, being able to manage both the method and the effort to create them.

These three abilities define the necessary competences for this first phase of business model searching and iterating while exploring, posing hypotheses to validate, including novel and differentiating elements in our solution, and pivoting over our models or MVPs.

The other two abilities have much to do with the execution of the defined business and guarantee the repeatability and scalability of the business model. They are:
  • To repeat (the swallow). There is no profitable business without repetition, integrating the brand new solution as part of a continuous operation process.
  • To show/externalize (the peacock). Achieving impact, being massively accepted by the market, being able to grow to serve more customers… all of this depends on being able to make ourselves well visible and to communicate effectively.

As we have seen, this model provides us with a practical framework to identify which abilities are necessary in a startup team depending on the phase we are going through. Resides, this framework can also be used to assess ourselves and our abilities, so which bird are you most similar to? :-)

[Haz clic aquí para la versión en español de esta entrada]

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