Companies are increasingly turning toward business model innovation as an alternative or complement to product or process innovation. Changes to business model design can be subtle; even when they might not have the potential to disrupt an industry, they can still yield important benefits to the innovator. The article offers a number of examples of business model innovation and poses six questions for executives to consider when thinking about business model innovation.
Companies traditionally pursue growth by investing heavily in product development so they can produce new and better offerings; by developing consumer insights so they can satisfy customers’ needs; or by making acquisitions and expanding into new markets. This article identifies a fourth method: “business model experimentation,” or using thought experiments to quickly and inexpensively examine new business model possibilities.
Why are investors so bullish on companies like Apple and Disney? Is it metrics, management, industry prowess, good investor relations or good timing? Probably all of these. But something else may be at work, too. According to research conducted at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the stock market consistently values certain types of business models more highly than others. In recent years, investors have favored models focused on intellectual property and highly innovative manufacturing.
Fighting against a disruptive business model by rolling out a second business model is one option for companies to consider. But to make that work, you need to avoid the trap of getting stuck in the middle.
Many companies proudly think of themselves as innovative. The great majority of them, however, are adept at producing only sustaining innovations —products or services that meet the demands of existing customers in established markets.