Let Your Business Model Innovations Grow Like Bamboo

If you live in a tropical climate and have good soil, you know that a bamboo shoot that you plant can grow by as much as two inches an hour. That’s the kind of explosive expansion that should drive your business model innovations.

When is good enough when it comes to business model innovation? Business people know that the pursuit of perfection can often be folly. You may only get one percent more benefit from adding twenty percent more improvement.

On the other hand, there are places where as little as a one percent improvement can provide twenty percent more benefits. Creating a business model innovation advantage is just such an area where the pursuit of perfection pays off extremely well.

In my interviews with companies whose track records were outstanding in business model development and improvement, I failed to locate companies that were turning business model development and improvement into constantly repeating processes like those used routinely in most larger companies for new product development and quality improvement.

While there would appear to be relatively little of this business model process development going on, clearly this direction will be part of creating future business advantages over competitors. Establishing this source of future customer and competitive advantage should focus on both establishing and improving a business model innovation process, and enhancing the capabilities of those who work with the process to employ it well. What are some key elements that companies should focus on?

Start by defining the process you have used. In the average growing company, most employees have been with the organization in their current job for only a few years. Today’s reality seems like all that there is, or ever has been.

As a result, people are usually focused on wanting to optimize what they have today. But if the company had simply done that kind of optimization in the past, the company might not have survived. How did we get to where we are today, and what does it teach us about what we need to be doing now?

Most companies have a process that has been used at least once to create the current business model. By making that process explicit, you can begin to see what elements need to be repeated and by whom.

Critical elements of this process mapping include:

(1) How does the process begin?

(2) How are objectives set?

(3) What questions are asked?

(4) How are the questions answered?

(5) What does the output look like?

(6) How is the output used?

(7) How is this thinking turned into operating reality?

Note that for smaller companies, you may be describing the inner dialogues that some of the senior executives have with themselves.

With that process in mind, the next step is to examine how you might improve your business model innovation process.

Copyright 2008 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved

Donald Mitchell

Originally posted 2013-09-19 01:55:21.