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How Corporate Innovation Teams Leverage the Value Proposition Canvas

The Value Proposition Canvas, a potent tool in corporate innovation, has gained prominence for enhancing businesses' understanding of their customers and creating better products.
November 13, 2023
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Head of Innovation

In the dynamic and thriving corporate world, the opportunity to stay ahead of trends and understand evolving customer needs presents an exhilarating challenge for businesses. This environment sparks creativity and drives innovation, encouraging companies to continuously enhance their offerings. Embracing these changes allows businesses to not only meet but exceed customer expectations, ensuring their enduring relevance and success in an ever-evolving, competitive and growing market. 

One powerful tool that has gained significant traction in the world of corporate innovation over the last few years is the Value Proposition Canvas. This framework has enabled businesses to understand their customers better, fine-tune their value propositions, and create products and services that truly resonate with their target audience. 

This article uncovers what the Value Proposition Canvas is and how corporate innovation teams are leveraging it to drive sustainable growth and retain their competitive advantage.

Understanding the Value Proposition Canvas

The Value Proposition Canvas, evolving from the business model canvas, is a strategic tool that guides companies in delivering exceptional customer value.
The Value Proposition Canvas is a strategic tool that guides companies in delivering exceptional customer value.

What is a Value Proposition Canvas?

The Canvas is a visual framework which has two distinct areas - The Customer Segment and The Value Proposition - each consisting of essential components like Customer Pains, Gains, and Jobs to be Done.

Originating from the business plan or business model canvas, this canvas helps companies define exactly how and why they are providing value for their customers.

What are the 6 components of the value proposition canvas?

Customer Segment Diagram

On the customer segment side, the framework outlines the customer profile, highlighting the customer's needs, in the form of pains, gains and jobs to be done. 

Quick definitions: 

  • Pains - these are all the negative emotions, blockers, problems and/or risks that your customer experiences in the process of getting the aimed job done. 
  • Gains - these are all the positive outcomes or benefits your customer expects and needs (as well as delight in) that increase their likelihood of adopting your new, proposed value proposition.
  • Jobs to be done - these are the different tasks, problems or ‘jobs’ that your customers are regularly facing and need to solve or satisfy.

Jobs to be done can be categorised into the following: 

  • Emotional (preferences, popularity)
  • Social (reputation, sense of duty)
  • Functional (practicability) 

Value Proposition Diagram

On the value proposition side of the framework, the tool identifies the products and/or services provided by the company, focusing on how these alleviate the customer's pains and fulfil their jobs to be done while creating gains. 

Quick definitions: 

  • Products and/or services - the products and services your company offers that deliver gain to your customer (deliver a benefit) and relieve pain (negative emotions or risks), which ultimately creates overall value for the customer.
  • Gain creators - these are the direct benefits and positive experiences that your product delivers to your customers when completing their jobs to be done. This includes functional utility and user experience, social gains, positive experience or emotions, and cost savings or effectiveness.
  • Pain relievers - This is where you directly highlight how your product can reduce some of the pains that your customers experience before, during, and after they are trying to get a job done.

Applying the Value Proposition Canvas in Corporate Innovation

Corporate innovation teams use the canvas to align their offerings with customer needs, ensuring products not only solve key problems but simultaneously deliver significant value.

The canvas allows corporations to identify and prioritise customer pains and gains to ensure their product addresses the most critical aspects and, in turn, achieves an ideal product-market fit. A successful product-market fit occurs when the value proposition effectively addresses the primary pains and gains of the targeted customer segment. 

The tool aligns the customers' pains, gains and jobs to be done, with the product's gain creators, pain relievers and products and services. 
The tool aligns the customers' pains, gains and jobs to be done, with the product's gain creators, pain relievers and products and services. 

Aligning the customer segment with the value proposition segment enhances the probability of the product launching successfully, as it directly meets customer needs. As this approach ensures that the product or service aligns with what the customer desires, it creates a roadmap for mutual value creation.

Benefits of leveraging this framework 

Insightful Market Research: The canvas prompts teams to conduct thorough market research, enabling them to gain a comprehensive understanding of their target customers. By identifying customer pains and gains, teams are then able to refine their products or services to meet the precise demands of the market.

Informed Product Development: Innovation teams can create offerings that directly address customer needs and preferences during the product development phase, by utilising the insights found from the canvas. This integrated approach ensures that the final product resonates with the target audience, enhancing its market acceptance and success.

Enhanced Competitive Advantage: By focusing on resolving specific customer pains and amplifying their gains, businesses can create a unique value proposition that sets them apart in the market, which fosters a sustainable competitive advantage and consistent credibility. In turn, the canvas allows companies to differentiate their offerings from those of their competitors.

Iterative Value Proposition Refinement: The Value Proposition Canvas empowers corporate innovation teams to continuously refine their value propositions in response to evolving market dynamics and customer preferences. This iterative process ensures that the company remains agile and adaptive, fostering long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Real-World Value Proposition Canvas Examples

Uber is often referenced as an example of how one can use the canvas. This is because Uber revolutionised the transportation industry in 2009 by identifying the pain points of traditional taxi services, such as long wait times, poor driving experiences and uncertain or inconsistent pricing. 

By leveraging technology, Uber created a seamless, user-friendly and transparent ride-sharing platform that addressed these specific customer pains while simultaneously providing the gains of convenience, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. 

Take a look at how we would populate the framework for Uber:

Originating from the business model canvas value proposition, this is a more detailed example that uses Uber.
A more detailed example using Uber.

Practical Tools for Value Proposition Canvas Integration

We’ve created some downloadable versions of The Value Proposition Canvas Template:

Get Started With Delta Innovate

In today's dynamic business environment, the ability to understand and cater to the needs of customers is critical for retaining both a competitive advantage and sustainable success. Corporate innovation teams are increasingly relying on the Value Proposition Canvas to gain a deep understanding of their target customers, refine their value propositions, and create offerings that resonate with their customers and market. 

At Delta Innovate, we’ve completed 100+ Value Proposition Canvases and are experts in design thinking, helping ambitious corporate teams and partners build impactful solutions.

Using this tool has helped us: 

  • Uncover strong potential value propositions for our corporate partners to pursue
  • Identify missed customer pain points and desired gains 
  • Refine value propositions to the point of re-launch in the market

By effectively integrating this tool into our corporate partners’ strategic planning and product development processes, we have helped our customers foster a culture of innovation, drive competitiveness in the market, and achieve long-term growth and profitability. 

The Value Proposition Canvas serves as a guiding compass, helping our partners navigate the complex landscape of customer-centric value creation and solidify their position in the competitive corporate landscape. Get in touch, today.

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