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Reconceptualizing value innovation for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things

Paul Matthyssens (Department of Management, Antwerp Management School, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 16 January 2019

Issue publication date: 7 October 2019




Starting from the foundations of value innovation, this paper aims to give an idea of the key drivers and barriers – internal and external to the company – and to provide insight into proven capabilities underscoring the ability to create a flow of new value initiatives. These thoughts are then confronted with the present challenges of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The confrontation leads to the identification of five capabilities for future-proof value innovation.


Literature review based upon the work of the author with more than two decades of experience within value innovation research is included. The review is supplemented with recent literature and an overview of the challenges of Industry 4.0/IIoT, which leads into a confrontation of the present status of value innovation with future requirements.


Value innovation remains important specifically for established companies facing path-breaking digital disruption of their existing business models provoked by Industry 4.0 and IIoT. Five key capabilities are suggested to rejuvenate value innovation and prepare it for the Industry 4.0 challenge: capabilities for designing, adapting and marketing product service systems; capabilities for blending digital strategy and processes with value offerings; capabilities for designing and mobilizing ecosystems and integrating these into a value-based IIoT platform; capabilities for combining and integrating technological and value innovation approaches; and capabilities for linking value creation to value capturing.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is more of a “viewpoint” than an empirically based paper presenting new research findings. It is based on expert judgment and confrontation with extant literature. The outlook indicating five key capabilities needs further empirical corroboration.

Practical implications

The overview of barriers and the “toolkit” for value innovation (Figure 1) and the five capabilities for future value innovation are expected to be managerially relevant.


The paper highlights the concept of value innovation, as discussed over the past decades, and links it to recent challenges and opportunities imposed by Industry 4.0 and the IIoT. The concept of value or strategic innovation is still valid but needs a re-conceptualization in view of these developments. The paper provides five capabilities business marketers should develop to perform value innovation in an Industry 4.0 environment.



This paper forms part of a special section “Value innovation in practice: leveraging learning in distant contexts”, guest edited by Fredrik Nordin and Nishant Kumar.


Matthyssens, P. (2019), "Reconceptualizing value innovation for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 6, pp. 1203-1209.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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