The Customer Aruba Networks, the leading provider of next-generation network access solutions for mobile enterprise networks, headquartered in Silicon Valley, California. Aruba has a very successful and...
The Customer Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate, and collaborate. Kathryn, currently principal and owner of Lumen Strategies, spent...
Kathryn Robinson is the principal consultant and owner of Lumen Strategies, a consultancy that focuses on illuminating the opportunities for innovation as a means to accelerating growth and value for her clients’ businesses. Kathryn works with senior business and/or functional leaders, providing consulting and advisory services for identification, development and implementation of innovative strategies.
Business innovation can take many forms and Kathryn’s broad cross functional experience allow her to work with clients in a variety of capacities based on their unique situations and needs. Innovation can take the form of overhauling the fundamental business model, delivering value through unique offers and packaging, strategic partnering for going-to-market, or using a wide variety of well suited and well placed communications and marketing elements.
Foundational to Kathryn’s effectiveness is her keen ability to quickly grasp the big picture, identify gaps and opportunities, and help you develop a strategic plan coupled with a pragmatic and prioritized execution plan. She brings her passion for developing a discipline that always “starts with the customer,” and her experience delivering results by getting to the essence of the “whole offer” you can provide for your customers. Kathryn brings a rich functional knowledge of strategic business challenges and opportunities stemming from experiences in business development, sales, marketing, professional services delivery, and strategic alliances leadership positions.
Typical clients of Lumen Strategies, launched in November of 2011, include those who are entering new markets, big and small companies seeking to transform their brands in the eyes of specific target markets, or startups approaching critical growth opportunities. Lumen Strategies clients have ranged from divisions of very large to mid-size technology companies engaged in mobility and/or analytics capabilities, healthcare IT companies in early growth/transition stages, and companies introducing pioneering applications of analytics and genomics to clinical healthcare. Prior to starting Lumen Strategies, Kathryn held a number of significant leadership roles at Cisco Systems, Turner Broadcasting and Sprint.
Kathryn resides outside of Chapel Hill, NC. She is the proud mother of two wonderful young women and a wife to her soul mate. She enjoys photography, hiking, reading, and a diverse range of music and art. As a passionate supporter of empowerment of women, she is an active and enthusiastic mentor for numerous individuals.
I know this is restating the obvious in today’s world, but it is so important that it deserves restatement: “The only thing constant is change.” This concept is attributed to the ancient Greek, Heraclitus, not some recent management guru, but it is increasingly important in a world when that pace of change has accelerated. This reality of constant change creates an imperative for continuous innovation. One avenue for innovation can be through identifying and forming strategic partnerships.
Strategic partnerships are like any meaningful relationship. Like any relationship, to be effective, partnerships take work. A good article about rethinking talent that included partnerships as a means to consider, noted the following, “To be effective, these relationships (partnerships used as an extension of talent for a company) have to be cultivated, monitored and deepened. Partnerships can no longer be treated as mere supply relationships, but extensions of the talent ecosystem.”
So how might you incorporate strategic partnerships as a means to innovation for your offer? When you have completed the exercise of asking yourself about what might be missing from your offer (from your customers’ perspectives), you may realize that a partnership or alliance could be beneficial to consider for augmenting your current offer. A partnership, well selected and crafted and nurtured for beneficial win/win can be helpful to:
Because the only constant is change, these partnerships may serve a purpose during a specific period of time or be of a nature that spans the lifeline of a product or offer. A red flag, however, is to not frame a plan around a partnership when it is just all about you. A key mistake is to believe you are in a “partnership” when in reality you simply want to use the other partner to your gain, if it is all about you and ignores the concept of a win / win for the partner, it is probably not going to yield long term incremental value to you or to your end customers.
As shared in previous posts, any of these explorations into potential areas for innovation or evolution really start with understanding who the customer is that you aspire to capture and even more importantly understanding what they care about. Have you tried to partner strategically in the past in your company? Did you know explicitly why you believed the partnership would benefit your customers? Are there areas you could consider partnerships to support continuous innovation?
Partnerships and strategic alliances as integrated elements in your business model are important and often overlooked opportunities to innovate and capture new growth for your business. There are many different reasons that a partnership or alliance incorporated into your business model can be beneficial.
Just a sample of a few of the options for potential innovation through alliances and partnerships follow (and look for future posts with more examples or get them delivered to your mailbox by subscribing to the Lumen Insights blog updates):
All of the above, and many other just like them can be sources of value for your business. However, possibly the most powerful reasons for partnerships and alliances are those that support incremental value from the perspective of the customers’ point of view. Consider your current offer in the marketplace and ask yourself these questions: Read More
The opportunity to delve in and really get to the essence of a value proposition can be an excellent opportunity to innovate and differentiate your company and offers through a myriad of ways. The actionable outcome of exploring your value proposition and how it plays out in your offers is to identify gaps and areas to refine your offer through either strategic partnerships, addition of new elements, different packaging and pricing, and more. Wikipedia defines the “whole product” as “the product augmented by everything that is needed for the customer to have a compelling reason to buy.” This term was originally coined and used by Regis McKenna, famed marketeer of Silicon Valley and elaborated upon by Geoffrey Moore in his book Crossing the Chasm.
In this series of posts, we explore elements of the business model that are worthy of evaluation in order to uncover innovative ways to continuously grow your business. This is the third article focused on the value proposition. In the last article of this series, I shared a story from my own experiences and will continue that story to its conclusion here.
To recap briefly, once upon a time I was responsible for leading a team that designed, implemented and operated a global network spanning 55 countries. For more on exactly what we were trying to achieve and the context of our desire to rapidly transform our networking capabilities to support the business, check out the last article. That article also shares a story of a sales team confusing features with value and botching things up pretty much. This is the happy ending, I suppose, as it is a story about how another firm actually stepped up to the plate with a value proposition and related offer that got to the heart of what we needed. Read More