Business Model Generation

Business Model Generation

“Whereas a conventional artist starts painting a canvas knowing what she wants to paint, and holds to her original intention until the work is finished, an original artist (with equal skills) holds a deeply but undefined goal in mind, keeps modifying the picture in response to the unexpected colors and shapes emerging on the canvas, and ends up with a finished work that probably will not resemble anything she started out with.”
-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Two years ago, I was asked by another training company to facilitate a 2 hour workshop (this was done in Japanese), extracting new business ideas from its client (corporate) employees. At that time, I was asked to use Mindmap(R) as a tool and I think it went fairly well. But more than that, I found myself enjoying doing this. Ever since that day, I’ve been thinking of ways that I can stage an atmosphere where creative ideas just keep flowing in.

The idea of facilitating a new business model/idea generation workshop excites me. You gather employees across different departments, talented people from all over the world into one place and make “WOWs” happen.
And since this is their idea (not mine or from another consultant), the ideas generated is likely to become implemented. I wrote this in my previous blog that if people think that it was their idea, they are more likely spend 4-5 times the time and energy to make this happen compared to other people’s ideas.
Over the past year, I have been searching for tools/frameworks, reading all kinds of books (i.e. back of the napkin) and talking to people with similar interests. Though most concepts were interesting, I couldn’t imagine myself using them.
But finally, I found a truly inspiring book. This was the first book I found that I can invision myself using its concept. The concept in this magical book, Business Model Generation, starts off by creating the company’s current business model on a canvas. Yes, a canvas! You actually turn your current model into a simple picture format.
What I find facinating about this book is that the entire process of creating this framework itself was done by co-creation (not by one person). 470 talented people from 45 different countries with shared interest/goals participated in creating this framework. According to the book, the creators spent 9 years of research and practice, held 77 forums and 287 skype calls, spent more than 4,000 hours of work, and used over 30,000 post-it notes. The creation of this framework itself was a huge worldwide workshop!
After you visualize your business model into a canvas, you use canvas and a base and try to come up with new creative ideas. You take a look at it from multiple perspectives, questioning industry assumptions, and looking beyond the status quo. It gives you many thinking tools which inspires you and your team to come up with something creative. I can easily picture employees having fun doing this, creative jucies flowing, and high energy level throughout the workshop.
I had been so moved that I sent an e-mail to the main author telling him how inspired I was reading it and if he didn’t have any plans traslating it to Japanese, I would love to find a publisher and do so. I quickly got a reply saying that if I can find a publisher interested, he is interested. I’ll have to think about this.
In any case, my first step will be to do a workshop using this concept and see how it goes. I am excited to see what creative ideas may come out. I might fail the first time but certainly it will be the first step towards a new and enjoyable journey.
You can download a summary of this book by accessing the link below:

Posted by Masafumi Otsuka

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