Business Model Innovation on the Web

Yesterday, I gave a presentation at the InternetBriefing Zurich. Here it is. Enjoy it. I use Experteer, Linguee, blacksocks and digitalSTROM as case studies to illustrate business model innovation.

Great Innovation: Renovate, don’t replace

Werner Näf had a very simple idea. If your water pipes at home need to be replaced why not renovate them from within? So he invented the LSE-System. It can clean the pipes from the inside using special equipment, dry and then recoat them and by the way save up to 75% in costs and hassle.

I got lately fascinated by firms that invented new solutions to solve a problem that we all know and where the traditional way was quite cumbersome. I introduced Mr. Krinner in a last post to you. He invented the first stable Christmas tree stand and the ground screw. He just solved an obvious problem.

So did Mr. Werner Näf. If you ever lived in an old house you know the problem of rust in your water pipes and of loss of pressure and water quantity due to congestion by deposits of rust and limescale. If you are the owner of an

old house you know the problem of leakage and high costs associated with replacing the pipes.Deposits in a water pipe

The traditional way is to replace the pipes. That means heavy construction work with tearing out the pipes from the wall, lot’s of chiselling, no water for weeks and if the heating system is affected no heating. The traditional way is to solve a big problem with a slightly smaller problem. Usually, you postpone the replacement up to the last minute due to the big hassle involved. Continue reading Great Innovation: Renovate, don’t replace

Great Innovation: Getting a job done

Often one hears that everything is already invented and that only incremental improvements are possible. Well, tell this to Mr. Krinner. He has invented two products that just changed the way how jobs are getting done. He invented the Krinner Christmas tree stand and the ground screw.

Probably, you never heard of Mr. Krinner and his company. But if you have no problem to put up your Christmas tree straight and safely, than you probably use his tree stand. His tree stand is not high tech, it just solves the problem to erect a Christmas tree easily and with high stability.

Krinner Christmas tree stand

The second innovation by Mr. Krinner is as simple as the tree stand: The ground screw. What the heck is this? You probably have never heard of this product category before and right, Mr. Krinner invented this product category. But you know the problem Mr. Krinner solved: Fixing something in the ground. Continue reading Great Innovation: Getting a job done

Slides from the course “Growth by business model innovation”

The slides are from my last lecture I gave at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg in Germany.

Money as the only differentiator

“We have to pay so high salaries otherwise we don’t get the right people” is often heard from firms even in the crisis.  Particularly the failed banking industry was very good in this salary death spiral. Salary was seen in this market as the only differentiators with great results.

I always wondered why the so highly paid managers could not find other reasons than money. Are they so uncreative that they had only the pricing mechanism as the only marketing tool in their recruiting process? Did they ever think about who they hired when money is the only reason why one should work for a particular bank? Can you develop a long-term oriented, customer centric bank when you have soldiers of fortune as employees? Have they every thought about what kind of culture they have created in this process? Have they ever thought about the customer experience they have created with a recruiting policy like that?

Well, the bankers will tell you they were driven by the short term orientation of the investors and the financial market in general. They will tell you that everybody was doing it so they had to do it as well. Continue reading Money as the only differentiator

Changing strategy reality

This video shows extremely well why companies just not need to do more of the same (MOTS) since it leads to more clutter. More clutter in features, more clutter in products, more clutter in advertising, more clutter in PR messages, more clutter of everything.

In this strange world of more of everything simplicity and clarity in your business model helps to find real differentiation, not just little differentiation but radical. Differentiation in the image, the message and the product helps but business model innovation where you create a fresh business model that is based on fresh customer insights is one key to reach this needed radical differentiation.

Enjoy the video by Scholz & Friends.

This video is particularly funny for all Germans that were socialized by the brands mentioned on the side line. Think that we have only limited brain capacity for each product category.

Time for disruptive innovation?

I was asked lately, when it is time for a disruptive innovation or a business model innovation? When should a company try to steer away from sustaining innovations toward a blue ocean of less competition.

Well, I would like to open this question to all of you. Please, tell me when you think it is time for change. Do we need a crisis or can we do it deliberately?

Please use the comment function for the discussion.

Diversity and Mental Models

Diversity in teams helps to overcome mental models that frame and impedes fresh thinking. The solving of a case study gives an interesting example who diversity helps.

I gave recently a lecture on business model innovation for managers of a large German corporation. During the session they had to prepare a case study on Bosch Power Tools.

Bosch Power Tools faced at the beginning of the Millennium a crisis. China entered the market, trade and no-brands gained markets share, Bosch’s share decreased, the market stagnated and the business was loss making. So the division faced the choice of ‘fix it, sell it, or close it‘. Continue reading Diversity and Mental Models

How large companies react to the crisis

The current crisis could be a great start to rethink your business, but large companies do the opposite. Besides the usual and essential task to save cash they push their business units into more controlling and reporting of the existing business.

Today, I had a long chat with an executive from a business unit in a large company. We talked about the reaction of the headquarters to the financial crisis which is hitting his business hard. He is very busy in the moment to cut unnecessary costs and to save cash wherever possible. At the same time he is spending a lot of time with customers to find new projects. Besides pressure on the margin customers have canceled orders but his position is still better than of his competitors due to his excellent customer relation.

At the same time he feels that his business model is too similar to the strategies of his competitors. Continue reading How large companies react to the crisis

What is the purpose of your business?

Beginning of the week, I had a long discussion with Dr. oec. Susan Müller and  Prof. Dr. Thierry Volery, two researchers at the University of St. Gallen. They want to figure out how high the excess return is earned by business model innovators. They want to know which kind of business innovation like value innovation or architectural innovation leads to what kind of über return or excess return.

Very interesting question in particular since most researchers including myself are still using case studies to make our point.

What made the discussion even more interesting was that we discussed what a business model is. There are several technical definitions like mine but for us more interesting was why the term became so prominent in the last years. With the term business model the word business returned to prominence in the conversation on strategy. Continue reading What is the purpose of your business?