Christina Bidmon, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Católica Lisbon’s Business Model Design Lab, is part of the guest editorial team that recently published a Special Issue on “Teaching Business Models” in the Journal of Business Models. Last week, we had the chance to ask her a few questions about the purpose of this Special Issue.

Overview of the papers included in Volume 1 of the Special Issue on Teaching Business Models
Overview of the papers included in Volume 1 of the Special Issue on Teaching Business Models

Can you tell us what is something unique about this issue? Why should I read it?

What is ‘special’ about our special issue is that it features only short, application-focused papers. That is exactly what Anna, Tassilo, Kirstin and I had in mind after organizing the annual Teaching Forum at the Business Model Conferences: We wanted to make the exchange on teaching approaches accessible to a broader audience, but via an open access, easy-to-digest format – not the typical academic paper. I also really like the interview with Charles Baden-Fuller we included in our Editorial, in which he reflects on the importance and development of teaching business models.

So, would you recommend the Special Issue to junior teachers starting to prepare for their first course?

Then you should read it for sure! But I think also experienced teachers can benefit from the best practices and teaching materials that authors share in this issue. Some papers take up advanced issues, such as teaching executives, train-the-trainer formats, or teaching a very specific part of the business modelling process. So, who should read this special issue? I would say:

  • young teachers looking for inspiration for their first course designs;
  • experienced teachers looking for ways to improve their teaching;
  • coaches and accelerator units trying to help founders and corporate entrepreneurs to master the art of business modelling.

In your experience, what is the trickiest part of teaching business models? Why did you find there was the need for such a Special Issue?

When you start teaching on business models, you quickly come across some ‘classics’ such as Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. And those are great, I think they already convey much more about how to teach and apply the topic than textbooks on strategy or innovation. But as a teacher, you still meet a lot of questions: How could I apply these methods in large classrooms? What to adjust when teaching executives versus undergraduates? What are (dis)advantages of letting students work with their own, live cases?

I think that is where we can help each other by sharing experiences. Furthermore, business modelling is often not taught as a stand-alone course but as part of strategy, technology and innovation management, or sustainable entrepreneurship programs. In the special issue, many authors give valuable insights on how to link the topic to such domains.

As a Guest Editor, was there anything that surprised you?

The amount of submissions! Because of that there will actually be a second volume, so stay tuned. Overall, I was amazed about the generosity with which people made course contents and teaching materials available. I think that is just great, good teaching might as well mean learning from others. And I loved that we have a lot of papers dealing with digital learning tools, blended learning and MOOCs, gamified and playful approaches.

So, what’s next?

Well, Volume 2 is coming soon, so that is something to look forward to. And then of course the Teaching Forum at the Business Model Conference next year. That will be in Copenhagen and if you want to be part of the discussion, you can submit something about your approach to teaching business models.

If you are starting your business model teaching path and you find yourself struggling with the same questions as Christina, read the Special Issue, reach out to us, or explore our business model teaching resources. Happy teaching!


Useful Links