An Enterprise Canvas update: 'value-governance'

An important email for me this morning, from management consultant Ray McKenzie, that’s triggered off a significant re-think on the role and label for one of the nine main cells in the Enterprise Canvas model:

While you labelled the bottom row of ‘Enterprise Canvas’ as Value, somehow as I read through the material I kept thinking ‘Governance’, not sure if this was your intent or just my imagination.

And yes, he’s right: of course it’s ‘Value-Governance’ – of course! Why on earth didn’t I see that before? 🙁 I knew that ‘Management’ wasn’t right when I wrote it, but I couldn’t find the right alternative. Yet there it is, staring me right in the face: of course it’s ‘value-governance’! – in fact, given its role, at the intersection of ‘our value’ and ‘the past’, it really couldn’t be anything else. Using the term ‘value-management’ for that single cell gives it completely the wrong flavour – in fact that’s the main function of the ‘value-direction’ cell in the somewhat-external ‘guidance’ group, so it’s already covered elsewhere. Management is something that happens throughout the service, not just in one place – but it is fair enough to say that overall governance-activities for a service tend to be concentrated in one subdomain of that service, enacted via its own domain-specific roles.

Value-governance makes sense here in both directions on the Canvas’ grid. On the vertical ‘our value’ axis, ‘value-proposition’ deals mainly with what we will do (future); ‘value-creation’ is concerned with what we are doing (present); whilst ‘value-governance’ looks at what we will do, but perhaps even more at what we have done (past), to ensure that they match up correctly. And in the horizontal value-web axis, ‘value-governance’ sits on the backchannel – completions and the past – to hold the balance between what comes in as ‘value-return’ from the customer-side of transactions, and what goes out as ‘value-outlay’ on the supplier-side.

Hence duly-amended versions of the key diagrams – first, the ‘service-cross’ version of the ‘brick’:

…and the ‘robot-chicken’:

Not many people use the shorthand two-letter codes for cells and flows, but these should change from VM to VG (for the cell-label), and XM to XG (for the flow-label). The XG flow now focusses primarily on matters relating to governance between the layers (rather than getting mixed up with overall management and direction, which should probably be associated more with the XD guidance-flow).

In all, this cleans up an inconsistency that had been bugging me for ages in the structure of the Canvas, but I hadn’t been able to see what was wrong or why. Hence, once again, many thanks to Ray McKenzie for this.

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