Silverchair’s Platform Strategies meeting, an industry conference exploring the intersection of business strategy and technology, will be held in New York City on September 25 and 26.

In this series of blog posts, the Silverchair team will give you a preview of Platform Strategies’ program, a look behind the scenes at our planning and preparations, and share what we’re looking forward to. You can find out more about Platform Strategies here and request your invitation by writing

"During the journey we commonly forget its goal. Almost every profession is chosen and commenced as a means to an end but continued as an end in itself." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

A big part of innovation involves discovering and validating new opportunities. Perhaps the most potent tool in that process is open-ended research conversations ("engagements") with subject matter experts. Not just self-styled Experts™ but anybody who has deep and material knowledge about a relevant domain.

A big part of new product development is what Steve Blank calls "Customer Discovery" - a structured, scientific process aimed at finding "product-market fit," where your products solve real problems and address unmet needs. Much of this involves "getting out of the building," and testing your hypothesis with potential adopters and users of your solution.

What may be under-appreciated is just how useful these tools are for well-established businesses, including those in scholarly and professional publishing. The world - especially the digital publishing world - is rapidly and unpredictably changing. The Army War College has coined a term for this: VUCA. Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In the face of a VUCA world, long-term strategies and 5 year plans become brittle. Those who will be successful will employ something closer to an "emergent strategy" executed within a "learning organization." Well-established organizations can become thriving learning organizations by using the research tools of innovation and new product development, engaging in continual conversation with downstream communities and ecosystems.

A big reason I'm excited about PS2019 is bringing a LIVE research conversation with producers and consumers of scholarly research to the PS2019 stage. We'll be able to hear more about their world, their motivations, their unmet needs, what they love about the tools and products they use now.

Entry is free and we’d love to have you; register here.

Dustin Smith leads innovation and new product development at Silverchair, working to solve problems for current customers, transform existing assets for adjacent markets, and explore new lines of business alongside and beyond the Silverchair Platform. Prior to joining, he worked with startups and Fortune 500 companies on technology-driven innovation, turning cutting-edge research into commercial opportunities. A former client called him “a yoga instructor for the mind.”

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