Books on management techniques proliferate. So why write another? The reason for introducing the Value Exchange System or VES for short is that it works. The co-authors have over twenty years’ experience between them of VES and its antecedents; David over fifteen and Christie since they co-founded Meggitt Bird LLP in 2012 and published a peer reviewed Technical Paper for the flagship journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
VES works because it is underpinned by the fundamental essence of an economy, the exchange, and it also represents how organizations really work. No one believes that an enterprise functions entirely on its processes. They are lubricated by the informal networks that weave between them. And value is not just for the end consumer or customer. It is distributed via every interaction along the way, and the more effectively value is added, or negative value eliminated, we believe the more successful an enterprise can become. VES incorporates these attributes and offers agency to enterprise participants.
VES is also for everyone. Books on strategy may be considered “above the pay grade” for new entrants at a task level and detailed operational techniques can sometimes be considered below the pay grade for C-suite executives. Value co-creation, however, is within everyone’s potential at any level, particularly for those who are fully engaged. Usefully, VES enables engagement, is fully scalable, easy to apply using the minimum of components and fully defensible when compared to other competing or complementary techniques.
Knowledge is built on the contributions of prior researchers and practitioners and VES is no exception. The problem with management topics, though, is that solid science is absent and many competing and apparently valid propositions co-exist as another of our books describes. Accordingly, we have drawn from a large selection of sources and disciplines ranging from Peter Drucker, the inventor of modern management, to the present thinkers as foundation material and validation for VES, with a selection provided in the references in this handbook. Accordingly, there is very little that is totally new. It is a reformulation and integration of prior know-how that we trust adds value and provides users of VES with the confidence to tackle seemingly unsurmountable challenges as well as relatively routine tasks, to experiment, have fun and metaphorically move mole hills and mountains alike.
In Section 1, we kick off with a mountain for any enterprise to bring into its sights – the destructive nature of the economics which currently rules - the quest for growth - and our proposal for how a “star enterprise” might be drawn to counter this influence. Section 2 provides a sense of the big picture, avoiding unnecessary detail. Sections 3 to 8 focus on building up confidence in using the three key components of VES in organizations at the beginning and at a later mature phase of their existence covering business models, ecosystems and the internal transactions of an enterprise. Section 9 provides a wider context for viewing VES and introduces the types of analysis that VES enables to help drive organizational transformation.
Finally, Section 10 offers some images to mobilize action, provides a summary of VES, hints at its general applicability and recalls how key global faith traditions should strengthen resolve to climb the mountain in Section 1.