book covers unlocking the customer value chain

A One-Page Summary Of

Unlocking the Customer Value Chain

How Decoupling Drives Consumer Disruption

The Main Idea

The real driver of most digital disruption in markets today is not new technology. It's consumer behaviors and preferences. Consumers are flocking to new business models that give them more control and more value. Therefore, if you want to innovate, look at changing your business model first and foremost. Specifically, get to know and see your customer's "value chain" from their perspective – what they want and the steps they undertake to get that.

Traditional companies expected consumers to carry out all these activities with them. The most successful digital upstarts decouple or break apart this value chain. They have customers undertake one or two of these steps with them and the rest with incumbents. They change the game and slant things in their own favor by using technology to achieve decoupling.

Borders tried to be “an innovative company,” launching its own e-commerce website, e-reader, and e-book store. Nokia for years invested heavily in smartphones, touch screens, and other technologies, earning multiple innovation awards. Yet technological innovation alone didn’t save them. It likely won’t save your business, either. Your fate lies in the hands of customers. So let’s understand the logic of their needs and wants. By doing so, we can devise reliable strategies and tools for directly managing disruption to their advantage, and indirectly to yours as well.
Thales Teixeira

About the Author

Thales Teixeira is an associate professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School. He specializes in digital marketing strategy, e-commerce and the economics of attention. His articles have been published in the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, the Economist, and the New York Times. Dr. Teixeira is also a reviewer for the US Food and Drug Administration and for academic journals. He consults with companies including BMW, Siemens, Bayer, Nike, YouTube and Microsoft. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan.