Business Design

A discipline every organization needs

For a spanish version of this article, clic aquí

  • Emilio: Where do you currently work?
  • Me: At IGENERIS, a small company specialised in business model design
  • Emilio: Oh, another consulting firm
  • Me: Actually, no. We combine strategy, design and execution
  • Emilio:Oh, OK, like in consulting
  • Me: Exactly. Another beer, please

At IGENERIS we are used to struggle through conversations like this one. That is why I think it’s worthy to take some time to explain exactly what we do and why we think it is valuable.

We design and implement new business models. We consult and we execute. You might find us wearing a tie… or a t-shirt.

Who is interested in business model design?

There are 3 million companies in Spain. From those, only approximately 0,1% (3k) are startups (with a much lower weight in the total economy than 0,1%). In the US, according to Hamel, the total of startup unicorns represent less than 2% in comparison with the aggregated market value of the S&P500.

However, most innovation drivers seem to come from that 0.1%. So what happens with the remaining 99.9%? Does business model innovation mean nothing to them?

We think it does. We truly believe that Business Model Design is a common need to every organization. It doesn’t matter if the organization is digital or analog, profit or non-for-profit… Business Model Design is interesting for them. Or it should be.

What does Business Model Design mean?

  1. Business Model: the set of interconnected elements that allow a company to offer a solution to a client in a profitable and sustainable way
  2. Design: create solutions

Business model design: a continuous approach for creating sustainable solutions to real needs.

That is why we believe that every organization should take this seriously. In the end, every organization’s goal is to offer a solution — a profitable and sustainable one — to its clients. Client needs evolve at a fast pace, as do the alternatives to solve them. Hence, companies’ business model must either adapt to the new context… or die. This is why this is not about startups or technology. It is something much more Darwinian. We’re talking about evolving, adapting to the environment.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”. C. Darwin
Charles Darwin, a scientist able to speak about species… and companies at the same time. From J. Cameron

How do we do this?

Like any other discipline, business model design and implementation requires training. You need a lot of reading and mental training to be able to think in different ways.

It is not about methodology

There is a common — wrong — belief that training and experience equals “methodology”. Of course we need to have a methodological approach. But it is quite naïve to think that using Design Thinking or filling rooms up with post-its will, per se, bring at all some transformation to a company. As if just by having a good pen one could write like Cervantes. It helps, yes, but it’s not THE thing.

A way of tackling problems

To create real impact through business model innovation we need to be able to answer different (and frequently unpleasant) questions about our core business: Why does a client buy my product? Why doesn’t (s)he buy it? What are his/her drivers to buy it? Is my solution the best answer to the problem? Do I know at all what problem do they have? How well does my solution fit within the new context? How can my competitors beat me in the next years… and what do I have to react?

Many times, answering these questions is already a difficult task; not to speak about actually changing things. But either you do it for yourself... or the market will end up doing it for you.

Designing is not enough. We need to execute

Business model design can generate tangible growth… but to make the equation work, you need more. Ideas are highly valuable, but they are not enough: they need to be implemented — at low cost — to test their real value for the market. That is why we believe that execution is key to the growth equation. Too many powerful business models have been forgotten “in the drawer”, and that is enough.

.PPT is OK. But .EXE is what really matters

This is the big difference between “consulting” and executing. Planning ahead is not enough in a world in constant change. That is why we believe it is fundamental to walk the whole trail with our clients:

  1. Understand the strategic problem a company has
  2. Design a solution for that problem
  3. You satisfied? It’s NOT enough. Let’s test this new solution into the market
  4. Seems to work? Let’s implement it FAST

Power Point is needed, but it is a bit like watching the world from behind the scenes. Things might seem crystal clear, but you need to play in the mud if you’re looking for real transformation.

  • Me: Dear Emilio, I hope now you get a better idea of what IGENERIS does, and why it makes sense for us. As we want to spread the word we’ve created this biweekly newsletter with a selection of top articles (you can suscribe here)
  • Emilio: Sorry but “Biznesdsigner” is too long. Consultant sounds better.