January 4, 2018 · Strategic Design in Practice

I want to learn about venture design

Some thoughts that have been swimming around for a year or two.

My process until now.

  1. Uncover a problem worth solving.
  2. Prototype and test how to make it less of a problem.
  3. ???
  4. Create value (profit).


I know it's a trope but just before the missing ???? is where the majority of ideas get stuck. This has been a source of eternal frustration for me. To be holding a great idea that is needed, next to a team of talented people, who are completely stuck in how to progress it. It is painful.

I've come to the conclusion that its because the effort to deliver ???? and (hopefully) create value, significantly outstrips stages 1 and 2. And everyone knows it. But no-one knows how to define an incentive and governance model that people can get behind. The fundamental gap is the business stuff. This is what I mean by venture design.

If we re-cast corporate structure and business models as a material to design companies with, how can different configurations enable or disable you to create and share value? For example: How do you define the constitution of a company? What options are out there to explore joint ventures? How do these differ when its two companies coming together to two individuals? How can shares be used to attract and compensate people?

So this is one of my learning goals for 2018. Now the question is, where in the world do you learn these things? Trial and error certainly feels too risky and drawn out. An MBA programme? Too expensive and time intensive.

What I'm actually looking for is for some knowledgeable person / people to sit down with me and talk me through the technicals in detail. Talk to me about starting up, shares and shareholding, business models, governance, financials, measuring performance and success, valuation, joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions and the myriad other topics I don't know, that I don't know.

I would love to interview other people and companies who have explored this sort of approach.

If you have good reading material, want to offer me advice, share your own thoughts, want to become my venture design sage or just generally point me in the right direction. Say hello on Twitter @mathewtrivett or leave a comment below.

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