On this website and in my work, I use certain terms in a nuanced way, and sometimes I find it necessary to invent new terms when those that exist are inadequate. I created this glossary in an attempt to make my intended meanings clear. Terms I devised are indicated with this symbol: §. I hope you will find the glossary useful.

Jack Martin Leith
Anti-client A disaffected former customer or non-customer who does not trust a particular organisation. Whether ‘fair’ or not, the grievances of anti-clients are real to them. Anti-clients may actively promote lack of trust in the organisation via their social networks and other channels. Anti-client is a term originated by Tom Graves, author of How anti-clients happen (and what to do about it).

Anti-value § The degenerative counterpart of value. Anti-value is more than dissatisfaction. It manifests as an experience of physical pain or emotional upset arising from a poorly designed or malfunctioning value generator, or from the denial of previously received and possibly taken for granted value.

Badwill If goodwill is an asset, then badwill is a liability. Badwill comes about when customers or other enterprise ecosystem constituents make public their experience of anti-value generated by the enterprise. Badwill can play out in the form of decreased revenue, loss of clients or suppliers, loss of market share, or damaged reputation—sometimes so great that it brings about the demise of the enterprise.

Beneficiary / value beneficiary The person who experiences the value generated by a value generator. The value beneficiary is always an individual, never a group or an enterprise.

Capability See Value generation capability.

Co-creation meeting § A collaborative gathering taking place over half a day, an entire day or several days, and usually forming part of a broader organisational change or innovation programme.

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A co-creation meeting brings together diverse stakeholders, often in large numbers (the upper limit is constrained only by the venue capacity) and with widely-differing agendas and perspectives, to discuss issues of heartfelt concern, share ideas, pool knowledge, explore possibilities and devise plans for sustained collaborative action. Co-creation meetings are known by various other names including large group interventions, large-scale events and ‘whole system in the room’ events. The three main types of co-creation meeting are Type 1 (pre-planned, facilitator-led, outcome focused, everyone together), Type 2 (impromptu, unfacilitated, freewheeling, fragmented), and Type 3 (Types 1 and 2 in sequence, typically T1 > T2 > T1 or T1 > T2 > T1 > T2 > T1).
Create vs. generate I use each of these words in a particular way. An enterprise creates value generators (products, services, facilities, establishments, events). An enterprise cannot create value. It can only create value generators, or ‘value propositions’ as certain academics would have it. A value generator generates value when the value beneficiary interacts with it.

Degenerative Having the purpose of generating anti-value, inhibiting value generation or nullifying value.

Downstream Happening later in a sequence of activities.

Ecosystem value The total value generated for constituents of the enterprise ecosystem.

Enterprise ecosystem § An enterprise ecosystem differs from a stakeholder system in that it includes entities not generally viewed as stakeholder groups, such as anti-clients (disaffected former customers and non-customers), criminals (part of the ecosystem of a police force), activist groups (for example, Extinction Rebellion, part of the ecosystem of an oil and gas corporation), and competitors (the failure of a business can have a devastating effect on other businesses operating in the same sector). An enterprise does not ‘have’ an ecosystem, in the way that it has stakeholders, and it cannot manage the ecosystem. An enterprise is but one interdependent part of the ecosystem, and it can only survive and prosper if the entire ecosystem survives and prospers.

Format The structure of a co-creation meeting, together with the methods employed.

Generate vs. create See Create vs. generate.

Generative Having the purpose of generating widespread value. Seeking to create that which improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place. World-enriching.

Generative Enterprise 1. An organisational philosophy and accompanying Rich Co-creation theories and practices that enable a business or nonprofit organisation to bring its world-enriching purpose to life moment by moment and generate the greatest amount of value for the greatest number of beneficiaries. 2. A business or nonprofit organisation that has adopted the Generative Enterprise philosophy and accompanying theories and practices. 3. A way of doing business that is focused on generating widespread value.

Intent The heartfelt desire of an individual or enterprise to enrich the world in a particular way. The twofold aspects of intent are purpose and vision of realised potential.

Intervention A shrewdly-designed action or set of actions taken in order to bring about a shift from the current state of affairs to the desired state.

Max4 / max4 principle § A reference to the discovery by various researchers that the maximum group size for a proper conversation is four people. Read more

Meaning That which makes life and work truly worthwhile (credit: Edward Matchett). Meaning is a form of value.

Meta generator § A meta generator 1 is a producer of value generators (products, services etc.) — typically an enterprise. A meta generator 2 is a producer of meta generators, such as an entrepreneur.

How value is generated

Microcosm of the enterprise A participant population formed of one or more people from each organisational function and at each hierarchical level. Diagonal slice has the same meaning.

Mission Strategy in action. Here, the term is borrowed from the field of space exploration. It is not a synonym for vision or purpose, and it is not about mission statements. In a generative enterprise, mission is an enterprise-wide programme of work aimed at realizing the vision, or some significant aspect of it, within a given timeframe. Each successive mission has the aim of realising the vision more fully.

Mission Launchpad A programme of work in which people make preparations for a mission that has the purpose of surmounting a tough problem. Generally, but not in every case, the work is completed in a two-day co-creation meeting.

Now-to-new § A shift from the current state of affairs (now) to the desired state (new). The five main types of now-to-new work are innovation, change, problem solving, development (expanding value generation capability) and potential utilisation (making better use of existing value generation capability).

Purpose A declaration of why the enterprise exists, beyond profit. An articulation of the value the enterprise intends to generate for a given set of beneficiaries. In some cases the purpose declaration will spell out or hint at the means by which this value is generated. The twofold aspects of intent are purpose and vision.

Rich Co-creation § A set of principles and practices employed in projects where stakeholders work together on an equal footing, from start to finish, in order to bring forth a mutually beneficial result. This could mean eliminating a tough problem, bringing about a desired change, creating something new, or utilising value generation potential more fully. Rich Co-creation is the principal means by which a generative enterprise gets things done, accomplishes its mission and translates its purpose into action. The rich prefix indicates that this form of co-creation is full-bodied and capable of generating significant downstream value.

Stakeholder A person, group, organisation or other entity that affects or can be affected by an organisation’s actions.

Stakeholder system The complete set of internal and external stakeholder groups for any given organisation. A stakeholder system differs from an enterprise ecosystem in that the latter includes entities not generally viewed as stakeholder groups, such as criminals, protest groups and competitors.

Strategy A cohesive response to an important challenge (credit: Richard Rumelt, author of Good Strategy Bad Strategy). In a generative enterprise, the overriding and persistent challenge is the rapid realisation of the vision. Strategy is not a laundry list of objectives or a detailed master plan, but a pithy statement describing in the broadest of terms how the constraints to rapid vision realisation will be removed.

System “A whole that cannot be divided into independent parts, because every part of a system has properties that it loses when separated from the system, and every system has some properties that none of its parts has. Further, a system is a set of two or more elements that satisfies the following three conditions: (1) The behaviour of each element has an effect on the behaviour of the whole. (2) The behaviour of the elements and their effects on the whole are interdependent. (3) However subgroups of the elements are formed, each has an effect on the behaviour of the whole and none has an independent effect on it.” Source: Russell Ackoff, via Wyatt Woodsmall.

Upstream Happening earlier in a sequence of activities.

Value Benefit. The three main forms of value are economic value, conceptual value and experienced value. I mostly talk about experienced value. Value is not ‘delivered’, as if by FedEx. It is co-created through the interaction between the value beneficiary (e.g. consumer) and the value generator. See Wikipedia: Service-dominant logic. Value is the red thread that unites purpose, vision, strategy, mission, project work, capability expansion, and other management preoccupations.

Value for customers means that after they have been assisted by a self-service process (cooking a meal or withdrawing cash from an ATM) or a full-service process (eating out at a restaurant or withdrawing cash over the counter in a bank) they are or feel better off than before.

Source: Service logic revisited: who creates value? And who co-creates? by Christian Grönroos, a Professor of Service and Relationship Marketing at Hanken Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland.

Value beneficiary See Beneficiary.

Value for all The greatest amount of value for the greatest number of beneficiaries. Much of my work is founded on the hypothesis that when an enterprise is focused on generating value for all, it enriches itself, its employees and its shareholders as a natural consequence (all things being equal).

Value generation capability Latent power available to an individual, group or enterprise for creating the new and realising the value generation potential of the new creation.

Value generator § Something tangible or intangible that produces experienced value when the user interacts with it. The main types of value generator are product (e.g. smartphone), service (banking), facility (cash dispenser), establishment (concert hall), and event (concert). The five categories are neither mutually exclusive nor collectively exhaustive.

Vision / vision of realised potential A depiction — an actual picture accompanied by vivid explanatory text — of how the world will look, sound and feel when the enterprise is fully utilising its value generation potential and living its purpose to the full. The twofold aspects of intent are purpose and vision.

Widespread value Another way of saying value for all.

Whole system A way of thinking and acting that takes into account the realities, perspectives and value requirements of all members of the enterprise and the ecosystem (stakeholders and beyond) in which it is situated.

World-enriching Generating or having the purpose of generating significant value for customers or users, other stakeholders and wider society.

Worldview An individual’s set of fundamental beliefs and organising principles; his or her unquestioned assumptions about the nature of reality and the human place in it. A worldview is like the operating system in a computer, controlling operations behind the scenes but mostly outside the user’s awareness. When someone upgrades his or her worldview, certain things that were previously impossible become possible, and some things that were difficult become easy. Generally, a new worldview does not replace the old one, but subsumes it.

Terms I avoid

! Beyond this current item, my website contains just five exclamation marks, all of them in quoted text. An exclamation mark rarely serves any useful purpose; it just makes the statement appear trivial.

Audience “A group of spectators or listeners, especially at a public event such as a concert or play” (Collins English Dictionary). Not participants in a co-creation meeting or people visiting a website.

Authentic A passable imitation.

Behaviours A reductionist concept. See also Competencies, Values.

Cause Problems involving people do not have causes, root or otherwise. See here if you have doubts.

Competencies A reductionist concept. See also Behaviours, Values.

Creativity A meaningless abstraction.

Culture An emergent, holistic phenomenon that cannot be changed by manipulating theoretical components. (See here for a rare mention.)

Customer focus And to hell with the other stakeholders.

Deliver value Value does not reside inside a product, awaiting delivery. Value is co-created when the value beneficiary interacts with the product.

Design thinking How did this ever become a thing?

Desired future What people really mean is desired present.

Drive “Drive change” etc. Like driving a vehicle, or cattle, or slaves?

Empathy Compassion with strings attached.

Engage Thinking you can engage someone is just as daft as thinking you can dance them.

Ideation An attempt at domesticating the primal act of conceiving an idea.

Journey Change is not a journey. This is just a metaphor, and not always a useful one.

Low-hanging fruit If it’s so easy to pick, how come no one has picked it already?

Quick win Rarely quick, rarely a win.

Resistance If people are resisting your plan, it’s the wrong plan.

Values A reductionist concept. See also Behaviours, Competencies.