Since business model innovation became a major source of competitive advantage, the topic is becoming increasingly important both for practice and science. New business conditions require companies to change their whole way of doing business as it becomes more and more difficult to differentiate on services and products alone.
Cases of successful business model innovation such as Amazon.com, Hilti or IKEA reveal how the implementation of a significantly new business model helped companies to outperform their competitors. Despite these benefits, explicit and systematic business model innovation does not appear to be a common approach in practice so far. Research on business model innovation is still in its infancy. To date a mutual consensus has not been found and consistent definitions are still lacking. Process models depicting the process steps and providing practical guidance, as they can be found in related research fields (e.g. innovation management) do not yet exist. In brief, missing theory and guidelines hinder business model innovation in practice and its scientific evaluation alike.
The main objective of this work is therefore to investigate how business model innovation can be improved through a structured approach. This structured approach is developed in the form of a process model following the principles of applied research. The proposed process model is constructed based on the state-of-the-art in business models, innovation management, and business model innovation. It is built in a way that supports a broad range of different environments and industries and thus enables a broad field of application. Since the theoretical foundation in the area of business model innovation is not in the desired state, a series of short case studies are analyzed to gain further insights. The analysis is based on the application and transfer of findings from the field of innovation management.
For the empirical evaluation of the applicability of the model in practice, it is tested within a series of workshops with different companies. Guidelines are derived based on the presentation and discussion of the results. The major contribution of this work is the construction of a theoretically substantiated and practically applicable model that helps companies to master threads and leverage opportunities, while advancing the field of business model innovation research.