Published on May 22nd, 2014 | by Peter Ward


Co-creating Value in Venice

WMG, together with the University of Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study and the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE), co-organised the Competitive Advantage in the Digital Economy (CADE) Vacation School which was held in Venice, Italy from May 13 to 15. Peter Ward, who was one of the participants, gives his value co-creation take on the experience.

The value of the recent Vacation School in Venice on the subject of Competitive Advantage in the Digital Economy (CADE) was high and will endure. However, it’s not possible to point to a single factor that made it so. There were a number of elements which combined together to allow the participants to co-create that value.

22 05 14 CADEstudents

Firstly, there was the location. For some it was a repeat visit while for others it was their first time in Venice. No matter: Venice is always different and always beautiful. This contextual ambience stimulates creativity and relaxation, which together permit greater value co-creation. The Warwick in Venice building, Palazzo Pesaro Papafera, is amazing with beautiful interior plus a garden, and the support staff are excellent hosts. Only when all the details are taken care of, then the full benefitscan be obtained.

Then there were the participants. Over 30 academics and students from universities across Europe – and originating from around the world – made for exciting multi-cultural discussions and led to additional insights. The long lunch breaks and communal evening meals might be seen as both an unnecessary luxury and a needless restriction. They were in fact one of the highlights of the Vacation School as they provided the opportunity to explore others’ interests and to build new relationships, which will remain active long after the presentation content has been filed away.

And finally there were the sessions. Presentations from world-leading academics in their fields were well received and stimulated lively discussions both during the sessions and over meals. Just how has always-on digital cloud connectivity changed the delivery of music? What can we learn from the mangle of practice that exists between scientists, engineers and technology at CERN? What could the Hub-of-All-Things contribute to the value of personal data and the future success of the NHS? And what relevance has an umbrella to the digital environment?! Our discussions ranged widely and opened up new insights.

Of course, the Vacation School’s foundation on the Service-Dominant Logic mindset was clear and welcome, while the theme of the Digital Economy kept us focused. And a Facebook group will permit ongoing engagement in the topics we started considering at the School – a fitting means of taking things forward.

It was a common feeling that this Vacation School was too good not to repeat. A yearly conference in the same location would be very welcome and highly popular. The value of having motivated students and leading academics working together in a beautiful location for a few days cannot be measured in terms of cost, and will be delivered from new insights and exiting partnerships. Here’s to next year’s event!

Thanks to the organisers and to the sponsors, especially Warwick’s Institute for Advanced Study.



Peter is studying for a PhD within WMG's Service Systems Group. The research question for Peter's PhD is "Why are some supply chains better than others at delivering value propositions that address contextual variety in the last yard? The case of patient adherence in sub-Saharan Africa".

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