ValueCreation turns three
In late 2007, with the birth of his first child, Carlos Bezos thought he could not hold 14 hours job as a manager ina research organization and at the same timetake care of a family. Sometimes life helps: his former company, Mercedes-Benz, offered him to return. Citilab was looking for an expert in action research for the SeniorLab project. In parallel, a former employee who worked with him, offered a project in Venezuela.
Do three jobs at once? That seemed impossible … unless a decision towards entrepreneurship was taken. It was scary. A fix salary against uncertainty, the security of a contract against search for customers. The coverage of an organization against loneliness.
Finally the decision was made. After three months of preparation, on April 7th, 2008, ValueCreation was registered as a trademark of BDSL .
At the beginning of the journey VlaueCreation consisted of on lonesome person working as a freelance from home. Now we are a core of seven people linked to the Madrid Science Park. We have closed 18 projects, of which SeniorLab is the shining star. Awarded by the the Princess Cristina 2010 Prize of the Ministery of Health and finalist of the German Chamber of Commerce Innovation Award 2010, SeniorLab moves now towards the creation of innovative business models in senior markets, completing thus the cycle of innovation.
These 18 projects have had significant effects
- Older people without technology skills have co-developed a digital platform for caregivers of Alzheimer patients
- It has created employment and innovation projects with SMEs and unemployed, between 44% and 50% of the unemployed found jobs, between 17% and 22% undertook.
- Companies close to bankruptcy they turned to their results innovating in business models
In general, our clients gained savings between 22% and 28%, time to market reductions of ca. 23%, an acceptance of their products by users of ca. 40%, skill increase of the workforce between 32% and 42%, and optimization of wages arround 35%.
In these years, ValueCreation has developed a good product of high quality around user driven innovation. A product recognized by institutions such as the Instituto de Salud Carlos III or the Madrid Science Park. It has found a niche in this field in the areas of co-innovation, creating business models and living lab projects. This is recognized by the British bank HSBC when it chooses ValueCreation among one of the 25 most innovative companies in Spain.
Parallel to the work product, has built an ecosystem of knowledge with the three institutions mentioned, Madrid Science Park, Citilab and Instituto de Salud Carlos III, which allows ValueCreation not act alone, but to be inserted into three major organizations and the center of innovation trends. It also allows us to have more resources, skills and expertise of those that a small company can generete, even if it is that innovative.
The road has not been easy. The first year and a half -admitted- we were very lost; practically it was a scouting time. There was a big difference between the theoretical business plan and reality. We’ve been through cash flow problems, defaults, poor positioning, lack of markets and a inmature products. The most difficult problems were not technical, but uman. Mainly learning how to swim in a sea full of sharks without being one of them. Yes, it’s true what mothers tell “do not trust strangers.” We have come across people and companies that do not meet commitments, steal ideas, manipulate, some who want us to work for free … at first it caused us frustration, now we experience it simply as one of the risksof being free. “The hardest thing about getting older is not to become cynical,” Davydd Greenwood, a professor at Cornell University, told us in our early days. Test passed, we have not become cynics, but rather we are full of enthusiasm and energy.
With a little help from my friends
None of this would have been possible without the help of two great institutions, which have been our mother and father. Citilab, whom we spin off, and the Madrid Science Park. Citilab has shaped us, gave us the positioning elements and has shown us the world of open innovation, something we practiced without knowing it, but without the necessary structure. We have opened the doors to the outside and inside ourselves. The Science Park has not only incubated the firm, it has also helped us very in a very active way, it has positioned us in the field of health, has given us very favorable conditions has inserted us into powerful networks.
In addition to the institutional parents, ValueCreation has been supported in the first time by two great people from academia. María Jesús Buxó, professor of anthropology at the University of Barcelona supported us from the beginning and connected us with Citilab. Davydd Greenwood, professor of anthropology at Cornell University, armed us with participatory action research methodologies, encouraged us to participate in experiences in Norway and mentored us during the first days.
Finally, we have not only met sharks in the sea of the market. Some companies, such as IVF Spain, helped us a lot when we had problems, both with advice and opening new opportunities.
PAfter the stress tests of positioning and treasury management, the next challenge ValueCreation is commercial. We have achieved great results for our clients, projects get recognition, have prestige, but if that is not known on a larger scale, we can’t grow. The next step is to create professional business strategies that allow many more companies to innovate within and outside the organization and to create innovation that can be placed successfully in the market.