The IP value chain starts with the inventor's original idea and has value added by a series of steps that ultimately yields a legally protected asset (e.g., a patent or a trade secret). The foundation of the IP value chain includes business strategy, competitive IP intelligence, the IP roadmap, and education. These components support and direct each of the steps of the IP value chain, and they must all be in place for the company to derive maximum benefit from it. As the diagram below illustrates, Value Chain Analysis is a way to visually see a company's business activities to see how the company can create a competitive advantage. Instead of creating Value Chain diagrams on complex and highly-paid tools, use free value chain makers like EdrawMax or EdrawMax Online. The templates provided by EdrawMax are 100% customizable and can later be shared in any format required.