Category Archives: Balanced Scorecard

Graphene Value Network

by Nicholas Coutts MA and Justin Hayward PhD MBA

Everything we do – research, development, testing, manufacturing,
investing, selling – is part of a value network. Understanding what
the value network looks like and how it may be changing can be
very beneficial in terms of helping to protect or increase the value
received or offered as changes occur. For example, Cambridge
Investment Research (CIR) developed a value network map of the barriers to adoption and use of a new and potentially very enabling & high value functional material: graphene (see Figure). The map shows 17 stakeholder types from the areas of: industry, investor, government, standards bodies, academic institutions and the taxpayer (who ultimately funds public and some private research and development).

graphene-value-network (PDF – all rights reserved CIR Ltd)

The map was developed during a one-day masterclass with participants from industry, professional services and academic backgrounds. The purpose of this value network analysis is to identify the barriers to the adoption and use of graphene by some of the different stakeholders in order to develop approaches to lowering or removing as many obstacles as possible. Lowering or removing barriers should speed the growth of applications for graphene. These can be reduced by the provision of services, and hence service design has an important role in speeding
up the growth of application. The map also shows flows between
stakeholders with an arrow to indicate the flow direction. The flows can be money, product, information, or services, or combinations of one or more of these.


Image Above Courtesy of FlexEnable Ltd, Cambridge

Needs and expectations
The arrows can also be indicators of the needs and expectations of a
stakeholder. For example, one of the stakeholders – the materials
supplier – expects the standards body to provide standardisation and certification. Without such information, which is a service required by the materials supplier of the standards body, the materials supplier’s ability to supply may be limited and hence the growth of applications for graphene could be stunted.
On the CIR value network map of barriers to adoption and use of graphene, this is shown as a very high (VH) barrier to adoption based on the view of the experts in the group that contributed to the map’s development.
Development Preparation of the map is straightforward. A table of all stakeholders is created. The needs and expectations of each are discussed and agreed.
A description of the barrier and the direction of flow are noted. The impact of these needs and expectations in terms of barriers to adoption and use are then assessed on a simple scale from being a ‘very high’ barrier to very low’ barrier, and this is noted. The resulting updatable table is uploaded to a dynamic software suite on the Cloud. The software then generates the dynamic map with the data.
The map can be used to analyse and assess the role and importance of the stakeholders in terms of their connections to others.
These data then help the understanding of priorities for action to be taken that will lower or remove the main barriers. This understanding of priorities, underpinned by a rigorous analysis of the value network by expert participants in a group of organisations or a single company, can then be converted into a short summary of recommendations. This can be for an executive, a management team, or the group of organisations.
An increasing number of leaders are coming to understand the use and importance of value network dynamics, and some now consider it to be sufficiently important and take responsibility for maintaining an up-to date, dynamic value network map both for the present and for the future on a senior management level.


If you would like to join a Leader’s MasterClass – if you believe it falls to you in your organisation to drive forward strategy and monetisation of GRMs – then please do approach CIR for info or booking +44 1223 303500 (direct) for the MasterClass on 5 November 2015 in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Graphene Technology Days 2015 festival of events including business conference, expo of tech, new lab tours and dinner.


Image Courtesy of Haydale plc Lead Sponsors of Cambridge Graphene Technology Days 2015.


The Value of Value Networks…

Value Network Analysis resembles but is more valuable than balanced scorecard.

In Value Networks we begin by writing down the list of stakeholders: companies, customers, suppliers, influencers. This may be as many as 50 different players, actors. These are represented as nodes or elements in the system.

We then add connections or links between the stakeholders which have interactions or “flows”, which are directional, between the two nodes or elements. The flow can be money, goods, services, information, or some other intangible. There may be as many as 200 links, and if we focus only on tangibles, this may reduce to 100.

One can work out a current value network – that which is going on now. And one can then take a given change or disruption in the marketplace that is expected or beginning to happen, and consider what the value network might be expected to look like in the future.

How for example are the money flows changed? What new players are there?

The flows can be rated numerically, or by levels, such as “Very High” “Medium” and “Low”. Doing this enables analysis measures of various kinds based on the quantities, such as number of connections (in, out or aggregated) and size of flow in the connections. These are “influence” metrics that can enable us to validate which are the hubs (most important (future) nodes or players), which are the players who have highest visibility into what is happening across the network and at a subtler level, measures such as “Eigenvector Centrality” which looks at how well connected a hub is to other hubs rather than all other nodes. Such hubs are leaders in the network, but not necessarily the most localised influence.

Having analysed the value flows in the future in this way, we are now able to look into a suitable sub-network, centred around a key player such as a typical, key customer type of the player working on the network, and the appropriate subset of the network related to this player.

This step resembles but is more rigorous than the reduction to a case made in Balanced Scorecard. A key point is that the appropriate sub-network comes out of the analysis of the value flow in the wider network, rather than being intuitive, or at least this modifies and informs the decision. The extent of focus on tangibles versus tangibles plus intangibles depends on the appetite of those doing the analysis; whilst insights are gained from the purely tangible, cleaner system, further insights can be gained from the combined, more complex system.

Examples of insights from both money and money + intangible analyses are potential impact on cash flow at focus players, assessing barriers to change and services needed, assessing changes to processes and tasks, the impact on the business model of given stakeholders considered.

Cambridge Investment Research team contains experts who can lead blue chip and innovator business teams in this method for seeing where the value is and how then to propose it to key customers.