Innovating your business model

Competition in industries is essentially competition between business models. A recent tweet by @TimKastelle which led to a post about the evolution of the business model concept reminded me of a great creative exercise to help you look at your and other industries dominant business model as a lego kit, which when broken apart can be reconnected like building blocks to create new types of business concepts.

Competition in industries is essentially competition between business models. A recent  tweet by @TimKastelle which led to a post about the reminded me of a great creative exercise to help you look at your and other industries dominant business model as a lego kit, which when broken apart can be reconnected like building blocks to create new types of business concepts.

Here’s how it would go:

First you start by thinking about the trends that are happening in the world and how they affect your industry, your business and your customers. You then look at different industries where incumbents are being disrupted (at least trying to!) by startups who are already taking advantage of these trends. Let’s take two trends that are making an impact in several business arenas right now: Crowdsourcing and game mechanics.

Here’s an example how this might look like:

Game Mechanics are being talked about tirelessly right now from a technological and marketing perspective for their ability to create customer engagement, as illustrated by Foursquare and Groupon. As for crowdsourcing, it has become Threadless’s core business strategy by letting their community create t-shirts with their own designs that if become popular, can be sold and they get to make money.

Now that we have to two examples we can start by asking questions:

What if we made game mechanics part of how our business is run instead of treating it like a marketing tactic? What if we made it core to our business strategy? How would we create value? What if our customers had a say at the boardroom table about how our business in run? What if we co-created our business with them? How would value be created and what would it mean for them and for us?

Equipped with curious thoughts it’s now time to go into discovery mode and look for businesses who have designed their business strategy around both trends and are playing by a different set of rules. Take for example , a NY based restaurant that with the use of both game mechanics and crowdsourcing. Here’s how the NY Times explains it:

Customers start by going to, where they can build a burger. There’s a list of options to choose from, including the type of burger bun,  a beef, turkey, veggie or salmon patty, condiments and more.

This is also why the burgers are shaped like doughnuts: customers are asked to pick a “scoop,” which goes into the middle of the burger, from options like avocado and chili mango, baked beans or mac and cheese.

Once you place your order, you can give it a name and off you go to pick it up. And this is where the game aspect comes in. 4Food has a leaderboard that shows the most-ordered burger. That turns it into a social networking food game.

Here’s how it works: I create a burger, call it “The Bits Burger” and broadcast it to Twitter or Facebook. Each time someone orders my special creation, I get 25 cents credit in the restaurant and my burger rises up the leaderboard. The more customers order my burger, the higher it goes and the more credits I get, until I’m eating free.

If we were to look at the business model for 4Food it might look something like this:

  • Who are our customers?
    Digitally connected individuals who are between 18-35 years old that use Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare on a daily basis.
  • What products or services do we sell?
    DIY hamburgers.
  • What distribution channels do we use?
    Internet website and any device connected to the internet that has a internet browser.
  • What do we charge our customers for?
    Small cost of burger, plus fries and drinks.
  • How are we different from competitors?
    A customer can potentially eat for free if his creation gets ordered enough times.

As you can see, 4Food’s business model is entirely different from traditional restaurants. Incumbents will have a hard time trying to replicate it themselves as it requires them to abandon the status quo. This is what happens when different trends converge and an opportunistic entrepreneur sees a connection between them for an interesting new business concept. And that is what this exercise is all about, seeing connections from a holistic point of view.

The above example is fairly simplistic for practical purposes, there’s much more to it than just cherry picking but the basic ideas are:

Look outside your industry

If you look around the web, startups are designing their business models around not just one trend but many that when combined can alter the rules of the game or create a new industry as is the case with Foursquare. When looking to innovate it’s useful to , that’s why I chose 4Food. Because restaurants are a traditional business and haven’t changed much in decades, 4Food presents an extreme look at what the future might hold for that industry.

Create a new Lego Kit

Now you may be asking but what about me? It’s time to play make believe and take parts of the exemplary businesses business model and apply it to your own. Treat every component of the business model as as separate (for a holistic look use ), and create scenarios about how that might look. It’s like looking at other businesses like part of a Lego Set and then taking them apart and combining them in different ways.

Insights, insights, insights

The point of this exercise is to look for insights by asking ‘what works?’ ‘who’s done it?’ and ‘how can we do it?’ and then imagining how it might look.

jorge barba

Hello my friend, I’m Jorge Barba, an Innovation Insurgent.

You’re here because you’re into strategy and innovation. I’ll set the agenda then: To be unconventional is to be strategic.

Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

Lo importante es el camino que recorremos, las metas son apenas el resultado de ese recorrido. Llegar generalmente significa volver a empezar!

Un comentario en “Innovating your business model”

Comentarios cerrados.


LIFESTYLE - by Esther Herrero

Being Your Brand

Branding and Strategy for Business and Life

Cruces, Sol y La Imaginación

Cuando la imaginación y la creatividad suman infinito


fanzine bejarano de historietas hecho en los 80

A Stairway To Fashion

imagination is the key

Vinod833's Blog

This site is the bee's knees

Apasionada de las Redes Sociales

Compartir conocimientos 2.0 y Marketing Online

Zona de Promesas

Blog de Tecnología en Español - Internet - Redes Sociales - Entrepreneurship - Innovación

Top Master | Blog


Unencumbered by Facts

Taking unsubstantiation to new levels

PsicoEmocions Blog

Un Pont entre la Psique i les Emocions



Comunicación & Marketing

De Lilian Lanzieri


Dirección estratégica para la vida

StellarHIRE Partners

Founding Partner, StellarHire Partners - Executive Search Consultants. Recent engagements include Eloqua, SFDC, Tibco and Veeam.

ivanbrunpr's Blog

4 out of 5 dentists recommend this site


Noticias de Tecnologia.

T a l e n t o  en  E x p a n s i ó n

Gestión de personas y transformación digital para las organizaciones líderes de la Era del Conocimiento

Two Leaves Tea SPAIN

Great Organic Tea! ✫✫✫✫✫ Te Organico en Piramides

Ideas para la clase

Experiencias creativas en la clase de español.

Little Grey Box


No solo los 80's

La mejor música de la historia

Molly Balloon's Blog

Identity + Dressing + Colour

El OJO PUBLICO. / Глаз общественности

Ver para contar & contar para ver. / Чтобы рассказать

Think Creative Idea Growth Hacking

Expertos en estrategia y auditoria de marketing

The Coaching Alliance

El camino hacia el éxito

Erick Lovera

Mi Pasión en un Blog

Estampas de México.

“Un fotógrafo tiene que ser auténtico y en su obra, debe expresar emociones, provocar reacciones y despertar pasiones.” ~ Javier García-Moreno E.

Natalia Gómez del Pozuelo

Escritora y formadora en comunicación


Alimentación, ocio y negocios, ALOYN, es un Grupo dirigido a Directivos y Propietarios de empresas, interesados en el mundo de la industria de alimentación y bebidas. Tanto por la parte de la industria productora como por la parte de la industria consumidora y/o distribuidora (Distribución Comercial, Horeca, Vending, Venta Directa, etc). También nos interesan las actividades ligadas al agroturismo y el enoturismo como magníficas actividades de promoción y difusión de la cultura gastronómica.

Blog de Jack Moreno

Un blog de Joaquín Moreno sobre recursos, literatura y ciencia ficción


Ensalada de Manjares

be. Intelligent Multimedia Education

~~Mente en Gravedad~~


The Xtyle

Fashion Blog - Un Blog de Moda y Tendencias by Bárbara Sanz Esteban

aníbal goicochea

Tecnologías de la Información y Estrategia

A Waterfall of Sound

"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words." Robert Frost

Health & Family

A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit

Style & Design

Fashion Trends and News


News, Headlines, Stories, Video from Around the Nation


Breaking news and updates from News pictures, video, Twitter trends.

A %d blogueros les gusta esto: