Keynote on Business Model Innovation at Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

The THESUS program seeks to develop technologies and applications for the Internet of services. The program is sponsored by the German government and supported by German IT heavy weights like SAP or Siemens and technical universities in Germany.

The program is based on several use cases where technology is supposed to solve a real world problem. The aim of the program is to build with semantic technologies a new and better knowledge infrastructure. For webbies you can also call it Web3.0.

I was invited to give a keynote on business model innovation at a THESEUS workshop at the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation. Interesting at the workshop was that most use cases have a clear benefit, but it was unclear who the customers will be that are willing to pay for the service; very typical for government sponsored and technology driven programs. During the breaks we had a lively discussion how to commercialize the results of the program.

Here you find the slides from the keynote (in German).


  1. Reading your blog I see that you are sceptical about the commercial aspects of the THESUS project. One of the key partners of THESUS is a Munich based company I have an ongoing discussion with Alexander Osterwalder about putting the Business Model Canvas up as a semantic web – I have created a beta version of this using the moresophy product. I suggested to Alex that the next version of his book might just be an innovative web version. THESUS gives companies the opportunity to experiment with and refine and expand their product line (a business innovation opportunity?) which in turn allows others such as myself to be innovative about business model design.

    1. @David
      Yes, I’m sceptically about the commercial aspects of THESUS. That is due to two reasons: First, I’m a born liberal in the European sense of the word, thereby being in general skeptical about government sponsoring in applied science. I think that firms outside of THESUS are already further advanced in the development of the Internet of services. Second, government sponsoring diverts you from the purpose of your company: to create real customers that pay you for fulfilling your value proposition. For Google it was great to have started at Stanford University, but it was equally important for them to move over to the commercial world as fast as possible afterwards to develop the commercial version of the search engine. The other thing we can learn from commercially successful start-ups is that it is not important to have a great technology (that might help) but to find a job you can do for your customers. And that must be a real world job not a theoretically interesting job.
      I’m looking forward to your implementation of the business model canvas with semantic technologies. And I’m looking forward to the job you will solve me in the future 😉

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