Building Better Business Models for the Digital Economy

Supported by a £1 million grant from the EPSRC, and with match funding from Cass Business School, the Mack Centre at Wharton Business School and other sources, Professor Charles Baden-Fuller, Centenary Professor of Cass Business School and part of the CENTIVE team is leading an international team of experts to conduct cutting edge, industry focused research on how business models can be better designed, built and implemented to exploit the potential of digital technologies.

Sustainable advantage comes not only from new technologies, but from business models that have evolved and integrated with those technologies. Despite an emerging body of research on business models, we still lack a proper understanding of which models are best designed for any chosen technology. Other questions remain: what is the optimal timing for integrating business model thinking into the technological trajectory, and do established business models need to be fine-tuned - or even completely renewed - to align with new technologies as they emerge.

Many firms are strong in technology but underestimate the importance of co-designing business models that mobilise their technology. This lack of understanding hinders profitability.

Customer identification, value creation and monetisation are the elements that collectively define a business model and are vital for successful technology investment (in particular digital investment). This project will identify more precisely why appropriate business model adoption is key; what configurations of organisational practices that sum up to business model choice are suitable for which technologies and markets; when in a new technology's trajectory is the optimal moment for solving the business model question; and how managers can develop and introduce better business models into their organizations. These questions of why, what, when and how are of national economic importance, and vital to many businesses and organisations - both those on the edge of new technologies and in more traditional sectors that just use them.

We have assembled an international research team of senior scientists from leading business schools and social science departments located at City University London, Wharton, Grenoble, ETH Zurich, Sussex, Glasgow and LSE which include Professors Ian (Mac) MacMillan, Rahool Kapoor, Vincent Mangematin, Georg von Krogh, Paul Nightingale, Martin Kretschmer, Mary Morgan and Stefan Haefliger. Their work will be supported by a team of junior researchers located at Cass.