Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Our strategy breakfast event on May 15th was presented by Rob Depinto, a Silicon Valley veteran.

 

The hashtag for the event was #WMNstrategy.

 

Strategy is essential in having a successful business, yet its definition can become blurred. I was really excited to attend this breakfast, but I didn’t know that much about the strategy and this was the perfect way to learn more.

The event kicks off with Rob DePinto, director of strategy at innovation consultancy, ikyo. He explains that there are three aspects to consider when creating a business strategy.

 

 

  1. Strategy
  2. Innovation
  3. Execution

 

DePinto says it’s important to not confuse the definition of strategy in business. Strategy is all about where the business needs to go and how to get there. He advises not to confuse strategy with sales forecasting or vision because if the definition isn’t correct, then the strategy won’t be successful. In addition, DePinto stresses that time is a huge factor to consider – so anchor yourself in reality when creating a strategy.

 

Strategy
DePinto breaks down strategy into three areas: objective, diagnosis and guiding policy.

 

Objectives are pretty self explanatory and DePinto offers tips on areas to look at, such as winning customer preference, creating sustainable competitive advantage and leaving money on the table for shareholders.

Diagnosis is all about analyzing problematic areas of the business and asking important questions, like what is really going on? What areas concern us? What will create advantage?

Lastly, the guiding policy is necessary to help the strategy reach its targets. It’s an approach to help overcome obstacles on the way and defines the principles of the strategy. DePinto explains it is a system of action with measurement – and emphasizes again that timeline is very important when creating a strategy – so your competitors don’t get ahead.

DePinto provides a Gucci case study. They had to understand where they were in order to see where they needed to go, so they conducted extensive research in the process. Gucci bought competitors’ handbags and pulled them apart to really see what they were up against. Then, they looked at what they could do with what they had. Ensuring that every department was involved in the strategy process was critical to success. DePinto explains Gucci’s system of advantage through involving and being willing to analyze all areas of the business, from marketing to stores, supply chains and HR, to customers.

 

 

Innovation
Innovation is extremely important for a business to be successful. Why? DePinto says that bringing a product that yields new value to market is critical to success. He offers tips when it comes to innovation and explain that the ‘product’ is the complete value proposition and not just a device. This includes how the customer feels when they buy the product and what makes them want to buy the product. He also advises focusing on serving a ‘market’, not customer by customer. He emphasizes that ‘value’ has to be created with your product – then you have to dominate the chosen market.

 

 

DePinto breaks down the innovation process, stating you have to precisely determine ‘value’ and what that is for your customer. Think about what problem you are solving and how you’re solving it. Who is the customer? Exactly what segment and sub-segment do they fit into? Any hypothesis created needs to be tested and the sales process needs to be repeated in order to accurately scale how successful the product can be. What follows is where everything links together. Strategy is where and how to get there; innovation is about bringing a new product to market – which then moves forward to diagnosis, guiding policy and finally, cohesive action (execution).

 

Execution
This is the system of getting things done and requires tough discipline. The ability to execute is vital, or the product fails. Another DePinto case study of Yellow Tail Wine shows an excellent example of execution. Their strategy involved bringing new wine drinkers into the market, instead of trying to target existing wine drinkers. They made it easy for their target market and excluded technical words surrounding wine. Yellow Tail even offered simple recommendations like which wine goes with which type of meat, which was ideal for their target market. They executed their strategy well and covered the innovation process. DePinto says that being different is much better than trying to be better than competitors.

 

 

When developing a strategy, DePinto highlights that covering all areas of the business when creating a strategy is also very important, including key performance, activities, value, resources, revenue, channels, customer relationships, customer segments and cost structure. He finishes with a few great examples of strategy, including the Yahoo! Weather App. Yahoo! isn’t the most popular search engine, but their new weather app has been very successful. It uses simple icons and is very useful with its maps feature. It’s a great example of innovation and execution, and was a boon for Yahoo!’s marketing as it showed they were moving forward and changing for the better.

After attending the WMN breakfast, I felt very inspired because DePinto gave great advice and case studies on strategy in business. I learned that being realistic with timeline, as well as executing for all areas are an important part of strategy. I also learned that strategy is an essential part of reaching goals, whether it be in business or creating something new. I will definitely be implementing some of the advice offered by DePinto into my work.

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Our next event at California Vintage is about strategy. Our presenter, Rob DePinto will be answering questions at the event, so get prepared to tap this Silicon Valley veteran.

 

Strategy is the difference between success and failure. Hundreds of books have been written on “strategy”, yet it remains poorly understood in many areas of business, and it is rarely executed effectively.

 

This talk aims to clearly define what “strategy” is and how it is inextricably linked to execution and how it should be linked to innovation. We’ll provide a practical framework and talk through some practical examples to bring it to life.

Presented by: Rob DePinto, director of the strategy and innovation consultancy, ikyo. Rob has worked at executive levels across a range of disciplines from startups in Silicon Valley where he raised capital and pioneered new products (awarded a US Patent), to marketing and advertising, through to being the ‘client’ in multinational companies. He has lived and worked in the UK, USA, Europe and across Asia.

You can read a  blog by DePinto here.

The hashtag for this event will be #WMNstrategy.

Please support the venue by purchasing food and beverages at the bar.

 

8am registration

Presentation 8:30-9:30

Tickets: Members – FREE, Non-members – $60 (pay at the door).

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