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Since 2000, The Valen Group has worked with executives to help facilitate significant new revenue growth by answering key questions

What is the next beachhead for significant growth?
What is our best strategy to uniquely take advantage of market changes?
Where should we focus our innovation resources?
Where is the white space and are there significant enough tensions we can uniquely solve and sustain a point of difference?

Our Strategy

We are a strategy consulting firm focused on growth strategy, innovation, and strategic partnerships

We are recognized for our agile approach to innovation that has been optimized for the corporate innovation environment. We have a practice dedicated to Strategic Brand Licensing that develops strategic, long-term deals about 15X the average corporate trademark licensing program. Many times executives know their growth vision but need a clear fact-based plan or roadmap for growth or innovation. We specialize in developing critical insight for areas of the business where the path to growth is not clear.


Positioning, Competitive Advantage


Tensions, Jobs-To-Be-Done


Organizational Alignment, Innovation Activation


Agile methods focused on market learning


Buy In and a bias for action

By bringing clarity to your future and where you are heading, we help you create top- and bottom- line growth and a sustainable, competitive organization. Because we are a learning organization that works on cutting edge issues, across many companies and categories, we can inspire you and your team to do new things.

We like to think our partnership approach and bias for action make us different, but you don’t have to take our word for it. You can look at the client list of iconic brands we have worked with over the years. Forrester Research named us as a trending innovation consulting firm, and License! Global Magazine ranked us a Top 25 global brand licensing firm.


Our History

Gus Valen was convinced that there is a better way to deliver the discipline and strategic insight of a McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group, by better linking strategy to execution, integrating disciplines, and offering superior value. So he started a boutique strategy consulting firm in 2000 with a mission to inspire people to do new things. Always focused on growth, and tuned into client’s needs, the company evolved to offer innovation consulting in addition to strategy consulting, and then into work on partnerships and licensing. Often the answer to the question, “How do we grow?” was to innovate, or to acquire capabilities the client did not have through a partnership or licensing. In practicing what we preach, we created a business – Blue Ocean Facilities – where we bring clients to our creative meeting space in Cincinnati, Ohio to solve strategic problems and inspire teams.

Our People

Each member of the team at The Valen Group brings global perspective and experience, diversity in thought and culture, and multi-disciplinary thinking to their work. Driven by a desire to move markets, our people are creative problem solvers whose curiosity has them always learning. Our culture encourages them to tackle the hard issues through transparent communication, and to be aware of what they don’t know.


Our philosophy on longevity in the consulting business is to deliver one successful engagement at a time. That success hinges on identifying each client’s unique organizational structure, team skills, attitudes and beliefs, risks and perceptions of what they need from a strategy consultant. We craft a team structure that fits the needs of the client for that engagement.

Mike Donavan

Senior Director,
Innovation & Insights

Molly Brockman

Vice President,
Innovations & Insights

Gus Valen

Managing Partner &

Jerry Haselmayer

Vice President,
Strategic Brand Licensing

Jeff Dotson

Vice President,
Strategic Brand Licensing

Jessi Degenhart

Senior Director,
Digital Marketing

How We Work

  • We start with strategy

  • We begin with a brief framing the problem prior to any engagement

  • We engage in agile principles that focus on market learning and reducing time to decision or market

  • We integrate disciplines for faster, better solutions and decisions

  • We are transparent and focus on finding truth to help you make the right strategic choices

  • We bring the outside in via benchmarking, experts and, many times, partnerships necessary to lower investment and speed up time-to-market

  • We engage in team huddles and weekly sprint reviews to ensure you are brought along the decision process efficiently and never surprised

  • We present recommendations in an answer-first order to not waste decision time

  • We draft a discussion brief to ensure alignment of objectives and scope as input into the signed engagement letter

How Do We Get Started?

It begins with a discussion on a business issue or opportunity to frame the problem. We then draft a strategy brief or discussion document to flesh out the appropriate approach and scope of work. From those discussions, and with agreement, we draft a formal engagement letter that outlines the agreed upon objectives, approach, deliverables, timeframe, and investment which forms the legal agreement we sign. There is no cost or obligation until we reach a formal agreement.