Research

Business model design offers vast opportunities of research. In anticipating future developments and contributing to emerging research areas, we focus our research on the following aspects:

Business Model Patterns

Business model patterns help to create new configurations and spark creativity. They help to reduce complexity and facilitate communication. We research on how to capitalise on these problem-sloution-configurations.

Example: Usage of business model patterns in the development of a new business model in our Smart Canvas.

Business Model Education

Eduction in the 21st century is changing rapidly. We are convinced that business models can revolutionise entrepreneurship and new venture creation. In our research we are looking for new ways to inspire and educate new entrepreneurs.

Example: PITCH!© is an online-offline serious card game offering a hybrid- and experiential-learning approach to business model education and training.

Machine Learning

The rapid digital transformation of business and society generates a vast amount of data. We advance the understanding of automated decisional guidance for business model design drawing on artificial intelligence.

Example: The Smart Business Modeler draws upon AI to provide automated decisional guidance by developing your business model.

Revolutionizing Entrepreneurship with Business Model Patterns at TEDx

In this TEDx talk René Bohnsack, founder of the Business Model Design Lab, shares how business model patterns can change the way of innovation as we know it. Let us inspire more people around the world to make their dreams come true!

Latest Publications

Article: What the hack? A growth hacking taxonomy and practical implications for firms

As companies become increasingly digital, growth hacking emerged as a new way of scaling businesses. While the term is fashionable in business, many executives remain confused about the concept. Even if firms have an idea of what growth hacking is, they may still be puzzled as to how to do it, creating a strategy-execution gap. Our article assists firms by bridging the growth hacking strategy-execution gap. First, we provide a growth hacking framework and deconstruct its building blocks: marketing, data analysis, coding, and the lean startup philosophy. We then present a taxonomy of 34 growth hacking patterns along the customer lifecycle of acquisition, activation, revenue, retention, and referral; categorize them on the two dimensions of resource intensity and time lag; and provide an example of how to apply the taxonomy in the case of a fitness application.

Article: When Incumbents Change Their Mind: Framing Strategic Reorientation in Emerging Fields

How actors evaluate the prospects of novel, sustainable technologies is unlikely to remain stable over time. The qualitative study explores how the German car industry gradually shifted from opposing to supporting electric mobility over the past 25 years. How actors such as incumbents communicate about the prospects of an emerging field and their own role in this field is important because it guides meaning-making and action by other actors. Insights into the question how incumbents handle the phase-out of old technologies and the phase-in of new technologies can support a better understanding of incumbent behavior in sustainability transitions.

Article: Industry Business Model Patterns for Business Model Innovation – The Case of the Electricity Industry

Innovating on business models has been a challenge for many managers, as they are somehow limited to what they already know or have learned. Patterns are seen as a way to overcome these challenges, as they contribute to extending the manager’s imagination which can contribute to the discovery of new ways of creating and capture value. This paper aims to explore if business model patterns can be used in specific industries that are facing radical changes and in which new business models might emerge by developing an industry-specific taxonomy of patterns for the electricity industry.

Article: Value propositions for disruptive technologies: Reconfiguration tactics in the case of electric vehicles

How do firms reconfigure their value proposition as a way to overcome the technological inferiority of disruptive technologies? Based on evidence on the commercialization of electric vehicles, this paper explores the tactics firms use to reconfigure value propositions to increase market acceptance from mainstream customers. The paper develops a framework showing three reconfiguration tactics: compensating, enhancing, and coupling tactics.

Article: Business models for sustainable technologies: Exploring business model evolution in the case of electric vehicles

Embedded in the literature on business models, this paper explores how incumbent and entrepreneurial firms’ path dependencies have affected the evolution of business models for electric vehicles. Based on a qualitative analysis of electric vehicle projects of key industry players over a five-year period, the paper identifies four business model archetypes and traces their evolution over time. Findings suggest that incumbent and entrepreneurial firms approach business model innovation in distinctive ways. Business model evolution shows a series of incremental changes that introduce service-based components, which were initially developed by entrepreneurial firms, to the product. Over time there seems to be some convergence in the business models of incumbents and entrepreneurs in the direction of delivering economy multi-purpose vehicles.

Conference Paper: What’s in it, and for whom? Achieving Balanced Value Capture in Collaborative Cross-Sector Business Models for Sustainability

In the light of contemporary phenomena such as the circular economy, smart cities, or the sharing economy, the question of how multiple actors manage to set up Collaborative Cross-Sector Business Models for Sustainability (CCSBMfS) has attracted increasing interest. How to ensure balanced value capture can herein constitute a particular challenge. In this study, we set out to explore the barriers that actors meet in the process of configuring a CCSBMfS and how they manage to overcome them.

Article: Timing-based business models for flexibility creation in the electric power sector

Energy policies in many countries push for an increase in the generation of wind and solar power. Along these developments, the balance between supply and demand becomes more challenging as the generation of wind and solar power is volatile, and flexibility of supply and demand becomes valuable. As a consequence, companies in the electric power sector develop new business models that create flexibility through activities of timing supply and demand. Based on an extensive qualitative analysis of interviews and industry research in the energy industry, the paper at hand explores the role of timing-based business models in the power sector and sheds light on the mechanisms of flexibility creation through timing.

Article: The three roles of business models in societal transitions : New linkages between business model and transition research.

This paper systematically integrates existing knowledge on business models into the well-established multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions and identifies three roles of business models and their respective impact on transition dynamics, i.e. business models as transition hamperers, as transition intermediates or as non-technological niche innovation.