Monthly Archives: May 2012

Captured Creation


The place where value is created is not always the same place where it can be captured. This idea made me pursue a business opportunity – and this is the story of how it happened.

Not long ago, I’ve put together a healthcare thought leadership dinner attended by ten local key leaders in the field. These people represented various stakeholder categories: regulators from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, healthcare providers, suppliers of medical devices, venture capitalists etc.  Also attending was a professor of behavioral economics from Duke University, who had agreed to share new research insights relevant to the sector.

In organizing this dinner, my primary objective was to create value by creating a context for people to think differently about healthcare. I tried to make visible issues that required me to bring together key stakeholders willing to expose each other to less familiar perspectives. I chose a fine dining experience as a setting because I wanted a neutral, private, and informal setting. I was aiming to create knowledge through hospitality, if you will. The value expected was related to content, networking, entertainment and the dining experience itself.

But that evening also created some unexpected value. And most of it went to waste because the place where it was created was not the type of place where it could have been captured. 

The dinner conversation highlighted a few ideas for business model changes that could solve pressing problems shared by these leaders. It also made plain the fact that few of these ideas would ever be pursued. The problem was not one of authority – these were the decision makers in their field. It was also not one of resources – they had access to finance and talent. The problem was that high levels of responsibility and accountability are not conducive to risk-taking behavior. At a sufficiently high levels, the cost of failure becomes prohibitive.

An opportunity became apparent. Why not use the authority and resources of these leaders to transplant their business ideas into an entrepreneurial arena, where one or more small teams could experiment with these business models at a much lower cost? Biotech and pharma companies are already doing it in the realm of enzyme research – why not apply a similar approach to innovating business models? The normal cycles of failure and reiteration would not disrupt the status quo, and any successful model could be transplanted back into the mother company, incorporated as a subsidiary, or turned into a strategic partner.

Well, organizational difficulties aside, this opportunity is difficult to pursue at the moment because a physical venue would be required. This place should be packed with resources that make it possible for entrepreneurs to tinker with business models under the patronage of established companies and institutions. These entrepreneurs would be hired on a path to become owners of a business they would successfully bring to the market. But there is no place in Dubai where we could create and successfully manage such symbiosis. So I am building one.

This is just one example of value that cannot be captured in the same place where it was created. Something tells me many other business opportunities could be uncovered by actively looking for instances where value creation and value capture just don’t live together.– This page has been viewed by 719 members –