By @SimonCocking review of Where To Play: 3 steps for discovering your most valuable market opportunities, by  Marc Gruber  and Sharon Valley  available from Amazon here.

As an entrepreneur or innovator, you’re trained to run fast. But are you running in the right direction?

 Choosing the right market for your innovation is the biggest, and trickiest, question for innovators. Research has not done enough to identify and leverage other opportunities – rather than jump at the first opportunity that looks good, and fails to properly evaluate and leverage other opportunities. These common beliefs means that you often choose the wrong market or lock yourself into one specific direction.

Where to Play helps you to set a strategy, by giving a clear, structured and practical framework – the Market Opportunity Navigator- to better identify, evaluate and focus on the right market opportunities. With three dedicated and reusable worksheets covering:

·    Market Opportunity Set – assess your core strengths and identify which market opportunities exist for your business

·    Attractiveness Map – evaluate your most attractive option for focus

·    Agile Focus Strategy – create a strategic plan for your chosen market opportunity that keeps you open-minded and agile

This book certainly recognises the work of the Lean Startup and the Business Model Canvas. There is a diagram on page 12 clearly showing where they feel this fits into those concepts. There are a lot of practical exercises and charts to help you map out what your most potential market opportunities could be. For some people this could be a really helpful guide to address these key questions. You can also conceive it being referred to, and used in innovation classes, and courses on entrepreneurship. It is visually well designed and well illustrated, which again may be useful for some budding entrepreneurs.

At times however it felt like you were seeing the same chart and graphic multiple times which made for a quick read. There were some case studies and examples, but too few for our liking. It felt a bit bloodless, more like an exercise book than a source of insights and inspiration. Maybe that is the intention? For our taste it needed more in the way of context, insights and examples. We know that Jake Knapp’s book Sprint, is doing well, and has resulted in him giving lots of well paid workshops given to groups to help them explore their ideas. We can see this book potentially achieving similar ‘traction’ (another buzz word for another book that will pop up in Amazon if you liked this one) so it may well achieve the goals of the authors. As a reader however you might feel that a second edition could bring a little more value though.


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