"You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together." -- Deuteronomy 22:10 (NKJV)
Few important business subjects offer less literature than business model innovation. Those who understand the critical importance of this management task will welcome Seizing the White Space as a helpful addition to the limited shelf of resources.
What is White Space? Author Mark W. Johnson displays a key definition in figure 2 on page 8 with a two dimensional matrix concerning the nature of the opportunity as one axis and the nature of the customer as the other axis. "White space" is where the opportunity is a poor fit with the existing organization and the customers are either new to the organization or "existing customers served in fundamentally different ways."
If that seems abstract, it is. The book provides a number of concrete examples that put flesh on the bones including Amazon.com, Apple, Dow Corning, Hilti, Hindustan Lever, Tata Nano, and Whole Foods.
What is a business model? The book offers a four-box definition illustrated in figure 8 on page 24: customer value proposition, key resources, key processes, and profit formula. If those aspects are unclear to you, the examples are used to flesh out each element.
Business model innovation is defined in this way: "These companies need something more fundamental than new growth: They need renewal. They must evolve into companies that deliver new sorts of value . . . It calls for the ability to innovate something more core than the core, to innovate the very theory of the business itself."
While the book's subtitle proclaims "Business Model Innovation for Growth and for Renewal," be aware that business model innovation can also occur in the other three quadrants of the matrix. Consultant Johnson is addressing the most difficult types of business model innovation. The good news is that many of the same lessons apply to the business model innovations in the other quadrants.
Mr. Johnson is an advocate of creating a process for innovation, rather than relying on serendipity. He doesn't discount serendipity, but he wants to increase productivity for such innovation.
I thought that the best chapter in the book was Chapter 8 where the stalled thinking of those who don't think about business models and strategy very much was well and humorously displayed in a way that anyone who has worked in management of a large company will quickly understand. Chapters 6 and 7 are also good on the subjects of designing and implementing new business models. I concur with the observations there. I wish that more of the book had been focused on those subjects rather than making the case for doing this kind of innovation. For instance, I think that many readers would benefit from more time explaining how to uncover new customer value propositions, the starting point of the innovation process described here.
Dieses Buch ist eine "obligatorische" Klassiker aus Soziologen, Politologen, Ökonomen und Politiker! Ein Buch, dass, wenn die Politiker es gelesen hatte - wie "Die wirtschaftlichen Folgen des Friedens" von John Maynard Keynes, nebenbei bemerkt und das Buch "The City" der Chicago School von 1928 noch moderner Justizpolitik sein könnte.- hatte viele aktuelle Probleme auftreten können. Aber die Politiker haben eine Politik Fenster von nur vier Jahren.
Some of the recent business innovation models are summarised but the book fails to bring something new. It does not give too much help for start-ups to go through this tedious process that is often full of obstacles. It could be also more interesting to read in the book about less famous examples of business innovation models.