News is full of cool technologies like drones, blockchains or autonomous cars and their disruptive character. Traditional firms have switched to innovation mode and have now cool digital transformation units to use these new technologies. Everybody is happy. Great, isn’t it? Or wait? Can this really work that easy?
Business Modeling is often seen as process to rearrange the building blocks to an innovative business model. What people forget is that a business model is not just the building plan of your business but also should give answer to the question “Why should your business exist from a customer perspective?” So a business model is not just a building plan but also how you give meaning to your customers and your employees.
Volkswagen, the world’s second-biggest carmaker admitted that it has been dishonest with customers and regulators. It has installed a software in its cars that falsifies emissions data of its diesel cars. Unfortunately, it is a perfect example where the values promised to customers and the real behavior outright contradict. And because of the mismatch, Volkswagen is in a perfect storm.
When I joined Microsoft in 1993 my decision to do so was stimulated by the picture I had from Bill Gates as a visionary leader. The company’s mission Bill Gates created at that time was “A computer on every desk and in every home”. It was an aspirational vision and motivating target for the scorecards. Would Microsoft be the same company today if the mission would never have existed and Bill Gates visions would have not influenced the product and research agenda in the way he did?
Business Model Innovation opens up the opportunity to not only transform the value proposition, value architecture or revenue model of an organisation, it is a chance to rethink your human value systems and build businesses that customers love, employees’ value and investors are excited about. Often, particularly in turbulent times, cultural innovation is an imperative for management.
Thanks to the business model canvas people are enthusiastic to build new business models and find business model innovations, but often they get lost in technocratic details. They just see building blocks but they forget the overal logic every great business needs.
Open innovation is a big trend today in innovation management. Where are its strengths and limitations? A discussion with Atizo.
Today, I had a long chat with Isabel Steiner and Sabine Hofer from Atizo, an entrepreneurial platform for open innovation. Atizo is a platform where companies can post a question to a crowd to get more and better solutions. This is called open innovation since you are not looking inside your own firm for ideas but to a broader spectrum of people. Some call it crowd sourcing for ideas.
Thomas Middelhoff was the CEO of the now insolvent German retail conglomerate Arcandor formerly known as KarstadtQuelle. Thomas Middelhoff has a good sense for timing. He left Arcandor in March 2009 just 3 months before the company had to file for bankrupcy in June. What made his stint at Arcandor so remarkable was not that he turned around the business of Arcandor but his ability to benefit personally from his position at Arcandor.
I am following the Arcandor business case for a while and I have written about the failure to innovate its business model in the past. So a recent article of Süddeutsche on Arcandor grabed my attention.
The German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reports (in German) that Middelhoff is by far better of than his former employer Arcandor and its employees that have lost their jobs. Süddeutsche Zeitung cites a confidential report of the auditors from Deloitte that acted on behalf of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).
The Swiss private banks are under pressure to change their business model. It is not just pressure from other states that want to fight tax evasion via exchange of information on bank customers but also from employers that try to sell stolen customers’ data to foreign governments.
The big news in Switzerland is that an informant, crook or thief – whatever you like to call him depends from your standpoint – has offered the German authorities data from 1,500 German customers of Swiss Banks that have allegedly dodged taxes. Last year, another informant stole data on 3,000 French bank clients from the HSBC branch in Switzerland and sold it to the French authorities. And in 2008, Germany already purchased data on German customers of the Liechtenstein Bank LGT. The LGT case cost the German government several million Euro but they received a far higher pay-back on its investment form all the taxes and fines that the busted tax evaders had to pay.
In the discussion on business model innovation an important point is missing: the culture in which the business is conducted. A business is all about people “creating” customers.
Businesses are not a technical machine with input and output factors. Businesses are places where human beings work together for a common goal and therefore the culture in a business is a defining part of a business and therefore also for the business model.
Most definitions of what a business model is are rather technical. We talk about components, patterns, building blocks. We make a lot of fuss about how we rearrange the components as if they were just Lego bricks. We believe that having in mind a great new business model is already a business model innovation.