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You're holding a handbook for visionaries, game changers,
and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models
and design tomorrow's enterprises. It's a book for the .
Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
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Printed in the United States of America
A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
Alan Smith, The Movement
Editor and Contributing Co-Author
Patrick van der Pijl
Co-created by an amazing crowd of
470 practitioners from 45 countries
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Are you an entrepreneurial spirit?
Are you constantly thinking about how to
create value and build new businesses, or how
to improve or transform your organization?
Are you trying to find innovative
ways of doing business to replace
old, outdated ones?
If you've answered
"yes" to any of these
to our group!
You're holding a handbook for visionaries, game
changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded
business models and design tomorrow's enterprises.
It's a book for the business model generation.
Today countless innovative business models
are emerging. Entirely new industries are
forming as old ones crumble. Upstarts are
challenging the old guard, some of whom are
struggling feverishly to reinvent themselves.
How do you imagine your organizations
business model might look two, five, or ten
years from now? Will you be among the
dominant players? Will you face competitors
brandishing formidable new business models?
This book will give you deep insight into the nature of business models.
It describes traditional and bleeding-edge models and their dynamics,
innovation techniques, how to position your model within an intensely
competitive landscape, and how to lead the redesign of your own organi-
zation's business model.
Certainly you've noticed that this is not the typical strategy or man-
agement book. We designed it to convey the essentials of what you need
to know, quickly, simply, and in a visual format. Examples are presented
pictorial ly and the content is complemented with exercises and workshop
scenarios you can use immediately. Rather than writing a conventional
book about business model innovation, we've tried to design a practical
guide for visionaries, game changers, and challengers eager to design or
reinvent business models. We've also worked hard to create a beautiful
book to enhance the pleasure of your "consumption." We hope you enjoy
using it as much as we've enjoyed creating it.
An online community complements this book (and was integral to
its creation, as you will discover later). Since business model innovation
is a rapidly evolving field, you may want to go beyond the essentials in
Business Model Generation and discover new tools online. Please consider
joining our worldwide community of business practitioners and research-
ers who have co-created this book. On the Hub you can participate in
discussions about business models, learn from others' insights, and try
out new tools provided by the authors. Visit the Business Model Hub at
Business model innovation is hardly new. When the founders of Diners
Club introduced the credit card in 1950, they were practicing business
model innovation. The same goes for Xerox, when it introduced photo-
copier leasing and the per-copy payment system in 1959. In fact, we might
trace business model innovation all the way back to the fifteenth century,
when Johannes Gutenberg sought applications for the mechanical printing
device he had invented.
But the scale and speed at which innovative business models are
transforming industry landscapes today is unprecedented. For entre-
preneurs, executives, consultants, and academics, it is high time to
understand the impact of this extraordinary evolution. Now is the time
to understand and to methodically address the challenge of business
Ultimately, business model innovation is about creating value, for
companies, customers, and society. It is about replacing outdated models.
With its iPod digital media player and iTunes.com online store, Apple
created an innovative new business model that transformed the company
into the dominant force in online music. Skype brought us dirt-cheap
global calling rates and free Skype-to-Skype calls with an innovative
business model built on so-called peer-to-peer technology. It is now the
world's largest carrier of international voice traffic. Zipcar frees city dwell-
ers from automobile ownership by offering hourly or daily on-demand
car rentals under a fee-based membership system. It's a business model
response to emerging user needs and pressing environmental concerns.
Grameen Bank is helping alleviate poverty through an innovative business
model that popularized microlending to the poor.
But how can we systematically invent, design, and implement
these powerful new business models? How can we question, challenge,
and transform old, outmoded ones? How can we turn visionary ideas
into game-changing business models that challenge the establishment— or
rejuvenate it if we ourselves are the incumbents? Business Model Generation
aims to give you the answers.
Since practicing is better than preaching, we adopted a new model
for writing this book. Four hundred and seventy members of the Business
Model Innovation Hub contributed cases, examples, and critical com-
ments to the manuscript— and we took their feedback to heart. Read more
about our experience in the final chapter of Business Model Generation.
Seven Faces of
The Senior Executive
Chairman / EFG International
Focus: Establish a new business model
in an old industry
Jean-Pierre Cuoni is chairman of
EFG International, a private bank
with what may be the industry's most
innovative business model. With
EFG he is profoundly transforming
the traditional relationships between
bank, clients, and client relationship
managers. Envisioning, crafting, and
executing an innovative business
model in a conservative industry with
established players is an art, and
one that has placed EFG International
among the fastest growing banks
in its sector.
Head ofRStl Business Models / Telenor
Focus: Help exploit the latest techno-
logical developments with the right
Dagfinn leads a business model unit
at Telenor, one of the world's ten larg-
est mobile telephone operators. The
telecom sector demands continuous
innovation, and Dagfinn's initiatives
help Telenor identify and understand
sustainable models that exploit the
potential of the latest technological
developments. Through deep analysis
of key industry trends, and by develop-
ing and using leading-edge analytical
tools, Dagfinn's team explores new
business concepts and opportunities.
Entrepreneur / CDEF Holding BV
Focus: Address unsatisfied customer
needs and build new business models
Marielle Sijgers is a full-fledged
entrepreneur. Together with her
business partner, Ronald van den
Hoff, she's shaking up the meeting,
congress, and hospitality industry
with innovative business models.
Led by unsatisfied customer needs,
the pair has invented new concepts
such as Seats2meet.com, which allows
on-the-fly booking of meetings in
untraditional locations. Together,
Sijgers and van den Hoff constantly
play with new business model ideas
and launch the most promising
concepts as new ventures.
Gert Steens, President St Investment
Focus: Invest in companies with the
most competitive business models
Gert makes a living by identifying the
best business models. Investing in the
wrong company with the wrong model
could cost his clients millions of euros
and him his reputation. Understanding
new and innovative business models
has become a crucial part of his work.
He goes far beyond the usual financial
analytics and compares business
models to spot strategic differences
that may impart a competitive edge.
Gert is constantly seeking business
Bas van Oosterhout, Senior
Consultant / Capgemini Consulting
Focus: Help clients question their
business models, and envision and
build new ones
Bas is part of Capgemini's Business
Innovation Team. Together with
his clients, he is passionate about
boosting performance and renewing
competitiveness through innovation.
Business Model Innovation is now a
core component of his work because
of its high relevance to client projects.
His aim is to inspire and assist clients
with new business models, from
ideation to implementation. To achieve
this, Bas draws on his understanding
of the most powerful business models,
regardless of industry.
Sole Proprietor/ The Institute of You
Focus: Find the right business model
to launch an innovative product
Trish is a talented young designer
who is particularly skilled at grasp-
ing an idea's essence and weaving it
into client communications. Currently
she's working on one of her own ideas,
a service that helps people who are
transitioning between careers. After
weeks of in-depth research, she's now
tackling the design. Trish knows she'll
have to figure out the right business
model to bring her service to market.
She understands the client-facing
part— that's what she works on daily
as a designer. But, since she lacks for-
mal business education, she needs the
vocabulary and tools to take on the
The Conscientious Entrepreneur
Iqbal Quadir, Social Entrepreneur /
Founder ofGrameen Phone
Focus: Bring about positive social and
economic change through innovative
Iqbal is constantly on the lookout
for innovative business models with
the potential for profound social
impact. His transformative model
brought telephone service to over
100 million Bangladeshis, utilizing
Grameen Bank's microcredit network.
He is now searching for a new model
for bringing affordable electricity to the
poor. As the head of MIT's Legatum
Center, he promotes technological
empowerment through innovative
businesses as a path to economic and
Table of Contents
The book is divided into five sections: © The Busi-
ness Model Canvas, a tool for describing, analyzing,
and designing business models, © Business Model
Patterns, based on concepts from leading business
thinkers, Techniques to help you design business
models, Re-interpreting strategy through the
business model lens, and A generic process to
help you design innovative business models, tying
together all the concepts, techniques, and tools in
Business Model Generation. #The last section offers
an outlook on five business model topics for future Afterword
exploration. Finally, the afterword provides a peek
into "the making of" Business Model Generation.
• • •
Definition of a Business
The 9 Building Blocks
The Long Tail
The Business Model
FREE as a Business Model
Open Business Models
200 Business Model
212 Evaluating Business
226 Business Model
Perspective on Blue
232 Managing Multiple
244 Business Model
274 Where did this book
A shared language for describing, visualizing,
assessing, and changing business models
A business model describes
the rationale of how an
organization creates, delivers,
and captures value
The starting point for any good discussion, meeting,
or workshop on business model innovation should
be a shared understanding of what a business model
actually is. We need a business model concept that
everybody understands: one that facilitates descrip-
tion and discussion. We need to start from the same
point and talk about the same thing. The challenge is
that the concept must be simple, relevant, and intui-
tively understandable, while not oversimplifying the
complexities of how enterprises function.
In the following pages we offer a concept that allows
you to describe and think through the business model
of your organization, your competitors, or any other
enterprise. This concept has been applied and tested
around the world and is already used in organizations
such as IBM, Ericsson, Deloitte, the Public Works and
Government Services of Canada, and many more.
This concept can become a shared language that
allows you to easily describe and manipulate business
models to create new strategic alternatives. Without
such a shared language it is difficult to systematically
challenge assumptions about one's business model
and innovate successfully.
We believe a business model can best be described
through nine basic building blocks that show the
logic of how a company intends to make money. The
nine blocks cover the four main areas of a business:
customers, offer, infrastructure, and financial viability.
The business model is like a blueprint for a strategy
to be implemented through organizational structures,
processes, and systems.
■ The 9 Building Blocks
□ Customer □ Value
An organization serves It seeks to solve custc
one or several Customer problems and satisfy
Segments. customer needs with
□ Channels □ Customer
Value propositions Relationships
are delivered to customers Customer relationships
through communication, are established and
distribution, and sales maintained with each
Channels. Customer Segment.
Revenue streams result
from value propositions
successfully offered to
Key resources are the
assets required to offer
and deliver the previously
described elements . . .
...by performing a num-
ber of Key Activities.
Some activities are
outsourced and some
resources are acquired
outside the enterprise.
The business model
elements result in the
The Customer Segments Building Block defines
the different groups of people or organizations an
enterprise aims to reach and serve
Customers comprise the heart of any business model. Without
(profitable) customers, no company can survive for long. In order
to better satisfy customers, a company may group them into
distinct segments with common needs, common behaviors,
or other attributes. A business model may define one or several
large or small Customer Segments. An organization must make
a conscious decision about which segments to serve and which
segments to ignore. Once this decision is made, a business model
can be carefully designed around a strong understanding of
specific customer needs.
Customer groups represent separate segments if:
• Their needs require and justify a distinct offer
• They are reached through different Distribution Channels
• They require different types of relationships
• They have substantially different profitabilities
• They are willing to pay for different aspects of the offer
For whom are we creating value?
Who are our most important customers?
There are different types of Customer Segments.
Here are some examples:
Business models focused on mass markets don't
distinguish between different Customer Segments.
The Value Propositions, Distribution Channels, and
Customer Relationships all focus on one large group
of customers with broadly similar needs and problems.
This type of business model is often found in the
consumer electronics sector.
Business models targeting niche markets cater to
specific, specialized Customer Segments. The Value
Propositions, Distribution Channels, and Customer
Relationships are all tailored to the specific require-
ments of a niche market. Such business models
are often found in supplier-buyer relationships. For
example, many car part manufacturers depend heavily
on purchases from major automobile manufacturers.
Some business models distinguish between market
segments with slightly different needs and problems.
The retail arm of a bank like Credit Suisse, for example,
may distinguish between a large group of customers,
each possessing assets of up to U.S. $100,000, and
a smaller group of affluent clients, each of whose net
worth exceeds U.S. $500,000. Both segments have
similar but varying needs and problems. This has
implications for the other building blocks of Credit
Suisse's business model, such as the Value Proposi-
tion, Distribution Channels, Customer Relationships,
and Revenue streams. Consider Micro Precision
Systems, which specializes in providing outsourced
micromechanical design and manufacturing solutions.
It serves three different Customer Segments— the
watch industry, the medical industry, and the industrial
automation sector— and offers each slightly different
An organization with a diversified customer business
model serves two unrelated Customer Segments
with very different needs and problems. For example,
in 2006 Amazon.com decided to diversify its retail
business by selling "cloud computing" services: online
storage space and on-demand server usage. Thus
it started catering to a totally different Customer
Segment— Web companies— with a totally different
Value Proposition. The strategic rationale behind this
diversification can be found in Amazon. corn's powerful
IT infrastructure, which can be shared by its retail sales
operations and the new cloud computing service unit.
Multi-sided platforms (or multi-sided markets)
Some organizations serve two or more interdepen-
dent Customer Segments. A credit card company, for
example, needs a large base of credit card holders
and a large base of merchants who accept those credit
cards. Similarly, an enterprise offering a free news-
paper needs a large reader base to attract advertisers.
On the other hand, it also needs advertisers to finance
production and distribution. Both segments are
required to make the business model work (read
more about multi-sided platforms on p. 76).
The Value Propositions Building Block describes
the bundle of products and services that create
value for a specific Customer Segment
The Value Proposition is the reason why customers turn to one
company over another. It solves a customer problem or satisfies
a customer need. Each Value Proposition consists of a selected
bundle of products and/or services that caters to the requirements
of a specific Customer Segment. In this sense, the Value Proposi-
tion is an aggregation, or bundle, of benefits that a company
Some Value Propositions may be innovative and represent a
new or disruptive offer. Others may be similar to existing market
offers, but with added features and attributes.
What value do we deliver to the customer?
Which one of our customers problems are we helping
to solve? Which customer needs are we satisfying?
What bundles of products and services are we offering
to each Customer Segment?
A Value Proposition creates value for a Customer
Segment through a distinct mix of elements cater-
ing to that segment's needs. Values may be quan-
titative (e.g. price, speed of service) or qualitative
(e.g. design, customer experience).
Elements from the following non- exhaustive list
can contribute to customer value creation.
Some Value Propositions satisfy an entirely new set
of needs that customers previously didn't perceive
because there was no similar offering. This is often,
but not always, technology related. Cell phones,
for instance, created a whole new industry around
mobile telecommunication. On the other hand,
products such as ethical investment funds have
little to do with new technology.
Improving product or service performance has
traditionally been a common way to create value.
The PC sector has traditionally relied on this factor
by bringing more powerful machines to market.
But improved performance has its limits. In recent
years, for example, faster PCs, more disk storage
space, and better graphics have failed to produce
corresponding growth in customer demand.
Tailoring products and services to the specific
needs of individual customers or Customer
Segments creates value. In recent years, the
concepts of mass customization and customer
co-creation have gained importance. This approach
allows for customized products and services,
while still taking advantage of economies of scale.
"Getting the job done"
Value can be created simply by helping a customer
get certain jobs done. Rolls-Royce understands this
very well: its airline customers rely entirely on Rolls-
Royce to manufacture and service their jet engines.
This arrangement allows customers to focus on
running their airlines. In return, the airlines pay
Rolls-Royce a fee for every hour an engine runs.
Design is an important but difficult element to mea-
sure. A product may stand out because of superior
design. In the fashion and consumer electronics
industries, design can be a particularly important
part of the Value Proposition.
Customers may find value in the simple act of using
and displaying a specific brand. Wearing a Rolex
watch signifies wealth, for example. On the other end
of the spectrum, skateboarders may wear the latest
"underground" brands to show that they are "in."
Offering similar value at a lower price is a common
way to satisfy the needs of price-sensitive Cus-
tomer Segments. But low-price Value Propositions
have important implications for the rest of a busi-
ness model. No frills airlines, such as Southwest,
easyJet, and Ryanair have designed entire business
models specifically to enable low cost air travel.
Another example of a price-based Value Proposi-
tion can be seen in the Nano, a new car designed
and manufactured by the Indian conglomerate Tata.
Its surprisingly low price makes the automobile
affordable to a whole new segment of the Indian
population. Increasingly, free offers are starting to
permeate various industries. Free offers range from
free newspapers to free e-mail, free mobile phone
services, and more (see p. 88 for more on FREE).
Helping customers reduce costs is an important
way to create value. Salesforce.com, for example,
sells a hosted Customer Relationship management
(CRM) application. This relieves buyers from the
expense and trouble of having to buy, install, and
manage CRM software themselves.
Customers value reducing the risks they incur
when purchasing products or services. For a used
car buyer, a one-year service guarantee reduces
the risk of post-purchase breakdowns and repairs.
A service-level guarantee partially reduces the
risk undertaken by a purchaser of outsourced IT
Making products and services available to custom-
ers who previously lacked access to them is another
way to create value. This can result from business
model innovation, new technologies, or a combina-
tion of both. NetJets, for instance, popularized the
concept of fractional private jet ownership. Using an
innovative business model, NetJets offers individu-
als and corporations access to private jets, a service
previously unaffordable to most customers. Mutual
funds provide another example of value creation
through increased accessibility. This innovative
financial product made it possible even for those
with modest wealth to build diversified investment
Making things more convenient or easier to use
can create substantial value. With iPod and iTunes,
Apple offered customers unprecedented conve-
nience searching, buying, downloading, and listen-
ing to digital music. It now dominates the market.
The Channels Building Block describes how a
company communicates with and reaches its
Customer Segments to deliver a Value Proposition
Communication, distribution, and sales Channels comprise a
company's interface with customers. Channels are customer touch
points that play an important role in the customer experience.
Channels serve several functions, including:
• Raising awareness among customers about a company's
products and services
• Helping customers evaluate a company's Value Proposition
• Allowing customers to purchase specific products and services
• Delivering a Value Proposition to customers
• Providing post-purchase customer support
Through which Channels do our Customer Segments
want to be reached? How are we reaching them now?
How are our Channels integrated? Which ones work best?
Which ones are most cost-efficient? How are we
integrating them with customer routines?
Channels have five distinct phases. Each channel can
cover some or all of these phases. We can distinguish
between direct Channels and indirect ones, as well as
between owned Channels and partner Channels.
Finding the right mix of Channels to satisfy how
customers want to be reached is crucial in bringing
a Value Proposition to market. An organization can
choose between reaching its customers through its
own Channels, through partner Channels, or through
a mix of both. Owned Channels can be direct, such as
an in-house sales force or a Web site, or they can be
indirect, such as retail stores owned or operated by the
organization. Partner Channels are indirect and span a
whole range of options, such as wholesale distribution,
retail, or partner-owned Web sites.
Partner Channels lead to lower margins, but they
allow an organization to expand its reach and benefit
from partner strengths. Owned Channels and particu-
larly direct ones have higher margins, but can be costly
to put in place and to operate. The trick is to find the
right balance between the different types of Channels,
to integrate them in a way to create a great customer
experience, and to maximize revenues.
Q Web sales
How do we raise aware-
ness about our company's
products and services?
How do we help custom-
ers evaluate our organiza-
tion's Value Proposition?
How do we allow custom-
ers to purchase specific
products and services?
How do we deliver a Value
Proposition to customers?
5. After sales
How do we provide
The Customer Relationships Building Block
describes the types of relationships a company
establishes with specific Customer Segments
A company should clarify the type of relationship it wants to
establish with each Customer Segment. Relationships can range
from personal to automated. Customer relationships may be
driven by the following motivations:
• Customer acquisition
• Customer retention
• Boosting sales (upselling)
In the early days, for example, mobile network operator Customer
Relationships were driven by aggressive acquisition strategies
involving free mobile phones. When the market became saturated,
operators switched to focusing on customer retention and increas-
ing average revenue per customer
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