Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

14 02 2013

Executive summary written by Nuno Bento

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is a famous quotation trivialised in thousands of contexts and this book is no exception: it really works that way! Stupidly, still are people arguing that the book is huge, and it is…foolishly a massive chunk of usefulness. One page simply breaks down in infinity others that offer uncontrollable new worlds that you never though existing. Yes…”creativity” is the keyword; that vast globe that incorporates yourself and supports your mind to fly with new eyes. Either are blue, green, brown or even black, it will always affect your vision.

“Business Model Generation” is a fantastic hunk of sliced trees that business people must possess. It is based in pictures, some of them real and others mentally reflected by words and schemes. It provides a creative and useful vehicle for examination of business models and consequent strategy called “Business Model Canvas”, the heart of the book. A model that integrates all the permutations between nine elements behind a business:

  • Customer Segments: Whom you serve
  • Value Proposition: Which problem you solve
  • Channels: How you reach the consumer
  • Customer Relationships: Which kind of relationship you have with the consumer
  • Revenue Streams: Where the revenues come from
  • Key Resources: Required assets to create the Value Proposition
  • Key Activities: What do you do with the assets
  • Key Partnerships: Third parties involved in company’s activity
  • Cost Structure: Costs involved

It shows how different real businesses, such as Google and Facebook, fit in the model, providing a real usage and understanding of its practicability without oversimplifying the complexities of how enterprises function.

Book’s through Business Model Canvas

Book’s through Business Model Canvas

Every year many business books are published, although, to try and show upper status on knowledge, authors use complex models and words to show formal and serious theories, making the reader very serious and focused. It’s essential to “fly” into new realities and this book really provides you “wings” to push to the innovation level, leading to start thinking critically about your business and inspiring you to check your real position and credibility within the market. Moreover, emphasizes the need to become a designer to be innovative, which is essential in today’s 21st century. This is the century of innovation, essential to survive in such savage business environment.

The book is ramified in five parts, presenting to you step-by-step sections: a detailed explanation of the books’ skeleton, the Business Model Canvas, where all the examples fit in the model, representing a map where the nine elements fit, showing its versatility and effectiveness; Patterns describing five important business models, based in well-known business concepts, in “Canvas” language, giving a comprehensible standardised format; how to draw your business story exploring out of boundaries through Design techniques, where you see what the others see, but you think differently from the others, stimulating and helping to flourish creativity on your Business Model (BM); expand a BM into lots more, through the Strategy chosen, creating differentiated opportunities and options. This section gives you tools to comprehend how to analyse the environment around the BM, supported always with pallet of examples, evaluating detailed pros and cons of adapting a certain BM in individual situation; and finally, Process, the step that ties all together, explaining five phases that occur in the BM design process: mobilise, understand, design, implement and manage. This subtle colourful volume is closed by a set of topics to explore in the future and a glimpse into the making of.

Written by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, with a co-creation of an amazing crowd of 470 practitioners from 45 different countries, this is a unique opportunity to get a condensed international knowledge and inspiration, with a superb design by Alan Smith being the icing on the cake. Despite the examples used in the book being almost just about technology-based companies, it’s an absolute must-have on your shelf. Take advantage and enjoy it. It will galvanise to pick up a pen or pencil and a paper to design a business plan for something that was, perhaps, skulking in the back of your mind today at work. Fill the void in your mind…

Reference: Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. (2010) Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.


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