The business model concept is very well established in academic disciplines but it is only relatively recently that it has become a widely used term - fuelled by digital innovation and the Internet. Its potential as a unifying mechanism presents significant opportunities for competitive development in both research and practice. Despite the prevalence of innovative technologies, growth and productivity remain major challenges in the global economy. Business models often act as the bridge between technology and the ability to deliver a compelling customer value proposition. Hence, the ability to experiment with new technologies and to develop associated business models is potentially a major source of productivity gains for both new and established firms. To realise the innovation potential from a focus on business models and business modelling, significant challenges, such as entrenched organisational and behavioural norms, need to be addressed.
The information presented in the White Paper has been synthesised from academic research and the perspectives of practitioners. Specifically, the paper draws together salient issues raised at the Business Model Innovation Workshop held at the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge. The workshop was co-hosted by IfM’s Business Model Innovation Research Programme and the Centre for Innovation and Service Research (ISR) at the University of Exeter Business School and forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Seminar Series on Business Models involving the following: University of the West of England, University of Exeter, Aston University, Lancaster University, Warwick University, Strathclyde University, and Reading University (Henley). The series has also received support from the British Academy of Management, The British Library and NEMODE.
This White Paper surfaces opportunities and challenges from business model innovation and provides a point of departure for intellectual debate. Specifically, it identifies these opportunities and challenges from multiple perspectives and offers a set of recommendations for academia, business, funding councils and government.
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Dr Chander Velu