Platform economy and technology fostered new ways of doing business and companies have to modify their attitudes and behaviors to cope with new realities. Managers and entrepreneurs are at the center of this ongoing business disruption.
Why have Facebook, Amazon, and Tesla achieved tremendous success? Why did some companies survive and thrive for 100+ years, and others did not?
These are relevant questions for governments, businesses, entrepreneurs, and worldwide leaders. To give some perspective, EMLV introduces a new course as part of its Master’s in Management programme, titled Business Model Innovation.
Teaching business innovation at EMLV
For Jingshu Du, business innovation is not just about technology : in fact, it is more importantly about solutioning problems. Critical. It’s a paradigm she is actively trying to promote in the academic world : “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
Jingshu Du is Associate Professor of Innovation and Strategic Management at Devinci Higher Education. Before joining EMLV, she was Assistant Professor of Strategic management and Innovation at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), in Netherlands, Senior Associate at Vlerick Business School, KULeuven, Belgium, and FWO granted long-stay research scholar at University of California Berkeley (UC-Berkeley), The United States.
As a strategy expert, her primary focus is on innovation management, Research & Development (R&D), collaborative innovations, and business models. She is also interested in the strategic decision-making of middle and upper-level managers.
With new platforms come new managers
” The recent years have witnessed the emergence and extraordinary performance of some young, pioneering firms, such as Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Tesla, Amazon, and Alibaba. While many long-established, resource-abundant, and technologically advanced companies have lost their leading positions in their traditional businesses, the success stories of these newly-established firms – typically with somewhat limited initial resources, have occupied business news headlines.
Being an innovation major, I’ve been intrigued by questions such as Why Facebook, Amazon, and Tesla have achieved tremendous success? and Why some companies managed to survive and thrive for 100+ years, and others did not?
These new firms adopt novel and unique ways to do business and address previously unidentified or unmet market needs. Individually, these firms have generated tremendous economic and social value; jointly, they are disrupting the traditional industrial landscape. The success of these firms, to a large extent, can be attributed to Business Model Innovation. “
Business Model Innovation is about training people to do it
” I designed “Business Model Innovation” as a brand new course dedicated to understanding the most recent developments in the business world, with an even-handed appreciation of both state-of-the-art theory and practices.
In this course, we explore new ways of doing business, intending to decipher the recipe for the success of these extraordinary firms (and the reasons for some epic failures).
More specifically, the course is built on three building blocks: Value creation, Value delivery, and Value capture. To further elaborate on each of these three processes, I take both an internal and an external perspective.
Combining them results in 6 sessions, and each is dedicated to one specific topic. For business model innovation mainly from within: we first start with Business idea generation, focusing on creativity & value proposition; followed by Start-up company creation.
For business model innovation primarily leveraging external resources: we concentrate on Business opportunity identification and introduce new approaches such as crowdsourcing & innomediation.
Once excellent business opportunities have been identified, we use corporate venturing as a major value-adding engine to selectively and strategically invest in internally spun-out businesses or externally spotted business opportunities.
As we refer to both small and large companies, this course is suitable for students who dream of becoming entrepreneurs and for those who aspire to work for large and well-established companies.
The content of this course is situated in the open innovation paradigm, connecting principles and the most recent developments in the business world.
Being a new study subject, this course requires a deep understanding and skillful application of knowledge across multiple disciplines such as innovation, entrepreneurship, strategy, and organization.
I also evoke this subject in a recent chapter, titled “Business Model Innovation”, from the book “Transformative Strategies: Strategic Thinking in the Age of Globalization, Disruption, Collaboration and Responsibility,” published by Routledge (Du, 2021).”
Entrepreneurship is a state of mind
The key in business innovation, is to be able to solve problems. Solve customers’ problems, solve societal issues, and solve grand challenges. In other words, customers don’t just want products. They want solutions to their perceived needs. In my view, providing reliable solutions to the most critical problems is the key to business success.
This question reminds me of a very recent conversation with one of my students. It was a young girl, she came (almost jumped) to me after my class. She looked excited, cheerful but slightly shy, with somewhat rosy cheeks.
She asked me, “Can I start a business? It’s such an exciting subject, and I cannot wait to try!” I answered yes, of course! She then became a bit uncertain: “I’m so young, and I’m just a student, can I? really?”
I replied, do you still remember the slide I showed in our first session? The slide with the ages and achievements of the (very young) founders of many nowadays world’s famous companies.
What did I say? – Dare to dream, dare to care, dare to be different. Let your age be your asset, not a liability.
She then looked relieved, and her eyes were shining: “Yes! I remember!”. For young students who consider a business career, the most important thing is to be courageous.
Dare to get into the field and dare to test the waters. Dare to celebrate success but also dare to embrace failures. Victory only belongs to those who are courageously prepared.
Here, at EMLV, we prepare our students with state-of-the-art essential knowledge and skills, but they still have to make their courageous moves to complete the journey. Only then they’ll find the way – a unique and new way of doing business.
For people who already have business experiences, my advice would be: Embrace change, Look upward, and Look forward. ”