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An approach to business model innovation and design for strategic sustainable development
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. (Strategic Sustainable Development)
Blekinge Institute of Technology. (Strategic Sustainable Development)
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. (Strategic Sustainable Development)
Arizona State University, USA.
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2017 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 140, 155-166 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Successful business is increasingly about understanding the challenges and opportunities linked to society's transition towards sustainability and, e.g., being able to innovate, design and build business models that are functional in this context. However, current business model innovation and design generally fails to sufficiently embrace the sustainability dimension. Typically, the business case of sustainability is not understood profoundly enough; the planning horizon and system scope are insufficient; the competence to bring together people into systematic ventures towards sustainable business is too low. A unifying framework for sustainability analyses, planning, cross-disciplinary and cross-sector cooperation, and cohesive use of the myriad sustainability tools, methods and concepts has been developed: the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). Similarly, a generic approach to business model design has been put forward: the Business Model Canvas (BMC). In this paper we explore how the FSSD could inform business model innovation and design by combining it with the BMC and supplementary tools, methods and concepts such as creativity techniques, value network mapping, life-cycle assessment, and product-service systems. The results show that the FSSD-BMC combination can support business model innovation and design for strategic sustainable development, as well as strengthen each supplementary tool, method and concept in its own primary purpose. We apply the combined approach, for the purpose of initial testing and presentation, to a real case of business model evolution. Based on our findings we propose a new approach to business model innovation and design for strategic sustainable development. The new approach facilitates, e.g., business scalability and risk avoidance and clarifies the interplay between classical business model development and strategic sustainability thinking. The new approach highlights the opportunity for novel business model design for future sustainable success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 140, 155-166 p.
Keyword [en]
Business model design Strategic sustainable development Sustainable business model Sustainable product-service systems
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-13600DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.06.124OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-13600DiVA: diva2:1055802
Available from: 2016-12-13 Created: 2016-12-13 Last updated: 2016-12-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Humanity confronts an existential threat without historic precedent. Environmental pressures have reached such intensity and pace of change that the earth system may be irreversibly tipped into a new and unpredictable state. The emerging global reality is, in turn, redefining overall conditions for business success. Addressing these challenges both demands and brings great opportunities for innovation. An important and sometimes neglected aspect of innovation is the design or redesign of business models, which has been identified as a greater source of lasting competitive advantage than new products and services per se. The business model has also been suggested as a new unit of analysis when discussing sustainability. However, this is still a relatively underexplored area. The aim of this work was therefore to develop an approach to business model design that supports strategic sustainable development, i.e., supports organizations to contribute to society’s transition towards sustainability in a way that strengthens the organization.    

 

To be able to design a business model that supports strategic sustainable development, it is necessary to know what sustainability is and how to develop sustainability-promoting, economically viable strategies. Therefore, the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, which includes, e.g., an operational definition of sustainability and strategic guidelines for how to approach it, was used as an overarching framework. Specific research methods and techniques included, e.g., literature reviews, questionnaires, interviews, work with focus groups, participatory action research with partner organizations, creative problem solving techniques, modeling, and simulation.

 

The literature reviews revealed potential sustainability benefits of developing business models in conjunction with product-service systems (PSS). However, a knowledge gap exists regarding how to effectively connect these fields. Arguably, PSS strategies can best contribute to sustainability when business models support their implementation and when both the business models and the PSS strategies are guided by an understanding of strategic sustainable development. Therefore, an integrated approach to Business Model Design for Strategic Sustainable Development was co-developed and tested in PSS innovation work with partners, e.g., companies within the energy and lighting sectors. The tests indicated that the new approach helped to clarify strengths and weaknesses of current business models from a strategic sustainability perspective; to transform an organization’s vision and strategy into a sustainability-framed vision and a sustainability-promoting strategy; and to communicate the new vision and strategy to the value network as a basis for engaging important stakeholders in the change. For example, the approach supported one of the partner companies in its transformation towards providing sustainable PSS solutions in the form of light as a service.

Examples of business benefits of the new approach include improved scalability and risk avoidance, which provide a foundation for better investment strategies. Benefits also include improved differentiability and a broadened view on, and a more solid foundation for, collaboration with stakeholders that are increasingly important to sustainable business success.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona, Sweden: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2017. 204 p.
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 01
Keyword
Business Model Innovation and Design, Strategic Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Product-Service Systems, Value Network.
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-13674 (URN)978-91-7295-334-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-01-27, J1650, Campus Gräsvik, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
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Available from: 2016-12-30 Created: 2016-12-29 Last updated: 2017-03-07Bibliographically approved

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França, Cesar-LevyBroman, GöranRobèrt, Karl-Henrik
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