The value chain was first described by Michael Porter in his groundbreaking book “Competitive Advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance” (Porter, 1998). It describes the primary and support activities which are needed to create products or services value added in a company. Already, at the time of the creation of the concept of the value chain the future influence of the digital transformation was looming. The use of information technologies to improve the efficiency and coordinate the primary and support activities is nowadays a main driver in the creation of digital value chains. You can learn more about the digital value chain and the role of IP in the industry 4.0 in our Certified University Course.

The digitalization of the value chain can happen at many places and stages. One driver is the changing customer behavior due to the new digital technologies. Through social media and our new lifestyle of being always online brands can now constantly interact with their customers. Via this new and dynamic customer touchpoint the brand can not only offer individualized products to the customers, but also use a new kind of mechanic to keep customers engaged and entertained: Gamification. Gamification is the use of game mechanics like the introduction of goal, rewards, rules, and feedback in non-gaming scenarios. For example, a running app can introduce running challenges, when runners compete with each other. This keeps them engaged and entertained at the same time and retains the users of the app. An example for gamification at Nike and how it is protected with IP can be seen in our sample lecture.

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Another area where the digital transformation is changing the value chain is the digital supply chain. Here, the use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) makes it possible to electronically identify and monitor components or products during transportation processes e.g. on conveyor belts or trucks between different workstations or workplaces. This digitalizes and supports internal and third-party logistics and is typically one of the first steps for companies to enter the internet of things and the digital supply chain.

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