Innovation of Business

and the
Business of Innovation™
 
Client Stories D - I

The DaVinci Institute

DaVinci was a two person business seeking growth. A group of four similar companies with complimentary skills nvestigated cooperative efforts in developing a business of promoting inventions and entrepreneurs.

Challenges

This was a classic startup. Normal hallenges were developing Identity and Strategy. More significant was four CEOs learning to work together. Indeed, the shared brainstorming was a perfect exercise for learning the strengths of each contributor.

Results

The original form of collaboration did not last. DaVinci, however has thrived. Instead of partners, the Institute established cooperative partners with special responsibilities and privileges in a membership environment.

EDCON

Was the global leader in gravity and magnetics (G&M) services and advanced instruments for prospecting for oil and gas. 

Challenges

Turn around: Generate new interest in G&M in the face of a natural market decline in competition with seismic methods. 
Competing: Develop a strong strategy to compete against an aggressive   new company formed around modeling software that EDCON couldn’t duplicate.  Commercialization: New products and solutions were ready for market.

Solutions

Corporate   identity: We led analysis of EDCON, its situation, its prospects, its brand, and its core marketing messages.
Product analyses: We defined, named, and developed brands for two new products.
Market studies: We did executive-interview market research to establish future market trends.
Marketing strategies: From market research, we developed a series of scenarios in which EDCON would frequently change the playing field to keep competitors off balance. 
Top-quality communications: We managed design, writing, and productions of brochures, advertising, and newsletters; and updated the trade-show presence.

Results

EDCON changed ship-borne gravity measurement forever and developed a strong, temporary competitive advantage. 
Fast data processing was stage two, putting G&M data on client desks before seismic data arrived. Then came on-board processing to make G&M a field resource to help direct seismic data acquisition. 
Each new capability achieved made EDCON more competitive and made G&M data more attractive in an industry dominated by seismic.
Marketing strategy directed technology development for overall advantage.

Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC)

This professional association supports technology transfer from all Federal Laboratories that offer technologies for to industry and other users.

Challenges

Staff and management of the Federal Labs are scientists, engineers, and their management. Management is typically promoted from the labs. In this environment, marketing was weak, and often seen as a waste of time. Both the labs and the FLC needed tools and processes for applying marketing and branding in ways acceptable to the individuals involved.

Solutions

In part, we served 15 separate labs over a 15 year period, developing marketing competence and directly undertaking transfer projects. We also did research. For instance, in cooperation with Dick Chapman, we developed the white paper, Management Roles and Best Practices in Federal Lab Technology Transfer. Text is available through Market Engineering.

Results

Obviously, we cannot claim more than a positive influence on the Labs. A selection of Lab stories are shown below, ll under N, below.

Green Mountain   Geophysics

Green Mountain developed and sold software to reduce the time, cost, and frustration of front-end seismic processing of oil industry exploration. Six years after Market Engineering’s first work with them, Green Mountain was acquired by Input-Output, Inc., at a very nice profit.

Challenges

Repositioning: At ten-years old, “Green Mountain” was synonymous with its main product, limiting growth. 
Growth: The company had been on a plateau for years and needed to learn how to expand. 
Strategy: The company was run by one person who owned the goals and strategies. The company needed a corporate strategy owned by everyone in order to enable its growth.
Brand: The company had no formal branding, and name recognition was built largely on the personality of the founder.
Vision: The company needed a vision to grow into a first class company. 
Marketing sophistication: All marketing was features driven and written for people much like the software developers.
Internal communications: The founder did not have a platform of strategic directions to use to delegate responsibilities. 
Systems issues: Green Mountain faced changes in standards for computers,   graphics, and interfaces. Costs to evolve would be significant.

Solutions

Identity: Strategic directions and distinct brands were developed for the company and its primary product. Initial results were applied over a year’s time, then a second session was held to verify progress and set the bar another level higher.
Strategy: We began a process of moving the company from being tactical to being strategic. We established orporate goals, product line goals, corporate values, and a clear mission.
Culture and vision: We developed a long-term vision for the internal culture, including factors needed to attract top software engineers.
Communications: We established criteria for all customer communications, impacting everything from the boxes for software to exhibits at major trade shows.
Market research: We did industry research to determine direction and timing of emerging standards.

Results

Niche: We redefined the competitive arena from “refraction statics” to “front-end seismic processing”. This both allowed significant room for growth and put Green Mountain into a leadership position.
Guiding slogan: “Simplifying the Essentials” became the core of decision making throughout the company. It guided software development, sales programs, and senior management. And it became the core of the company brand – showing on all communications until the company was acquired.
Repositioning: Green Mountain successfully extended its niche from a single software package to a system of related products. Green Mountain took control of its niche, succeeding in slowing competitor entry.
Management: The owner-founder recognized his limitations and stepped down from President to VP Software within 15 months. The newly positioned company was able to attract a powerful president out of IBM.
Systems: Green Mountain invested in new standards. They did not join industry consortia, but developed their own solution. 
Stable growth: Within its new niche, Green Mountain began a growth phase that resulted in its acquisition. It had such dominance in its niche that it was very attractive to other growth oriented companies.

ICCE Technologies

ICCE was a provider of unique technologies for managing business complexity by making control centers more responsive in performance of their missions.

Challenges

Corporate   focus: Was on technology and launch, not on making and keeping satisfied customers.
Branding: No work had been done except for the draft name.
Business and product launch: The company was almost brand new. A team had worked on adapting the technology for commercial use. As that process neared completion, ICCE needed to do all marketing preparation for launch, two branding campaigns, and sales.

Solutions

Expanded   vision: To leverage its technology ICCE needed to see beyond the technology. And they needed to learn how to communicate with customer management at benefits levels.

Results

Strategic   identities, company and product: A combination of names, functions, customer focus, needs met, benefits delivered, uniqueness, value propositions, positions, and missions. That is, we defined the basis for all marketing and criteria for product success.
Flash Website: As a high-profile, high-tech product, the website was designed to tell the NEXUS story. A storyboard was developed to guide programming.
Brochures: Core communications engineering focused development of 8 and 6-page brochures for company and product. Themes followed the flow of information, expertise decisions, and control.
Focus: The team evolved from being technology-centered to seeing its system as a tool for “complexity management.” That is, they realized that customers cared more about solutions to constantly increasing complexity, than about details of equipment.

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