New Business Models

Soon after the appearance of the book ‘Sustainable Thinking Acting’, it almost instantly became a bestseller. What also became clear due to the hundreds and hundreds of mails and other forms of feedback was that an incredible amount of people were busy organizing sustainability in their lives, neighborhoods, and businesses. Research into how people actually translate sustainability in the way they behave led to the conclusion that people implicitly and unconsciously avoid conventional business models and attempt to create and shape new business models. A series of studies and publications on the phenomenon occurred during the period 2011 – 2014 with the aim to understand the nature and building blocks of those new business models. Key is the idea that ‘profit’ is more than just money. It involves collective, multiple, and shared value creation in a community. The idea of community-based value creation was born.
The core concept of a business model (BM) is to illustrate the logic of value creation. That logic is based on a transaction. Our society is based on a continuous flux of smaller and larger transactions, tangible and intangible, day after day. Sustainability or sustainable development originally has no place in conventional business models that are based on a cost-benefit analysis with a single value, specifically, financial gain or loss. That does not mean that, in existing business models, there is no consideration for sustainability, however, it is not a component of the core logic of a business model. That is exactly the problem if we want to make the transition towards a society in which sustainability is central value.
Transactions with the aim at creating sustainability are based on more than just financial gain. Sustainability calls for the creation of more than one value and a broader spectrum of value creation. The challenge of a New Business Model (NBM) is to give value creation a different form than that in prior conventional business models. This requires multiple values (MVC). The core of MVC is to work simultaneously on a coherent set of social, ecological, and economic transaction values that can co-exist along with money such as time, energy, waste, and other means of transactions.
The research in new business models has been reported over a period of time in a series of working papers. Currently, only the Working Paper ‘New Business Models’ from 2012 is available as a free download. In addition, the research syllabus on New Business Models in Europe is freely available. To obtain a copy, please click here.
All of this research and all of the intermediate stages full of exciting discoveries reported in working papers, seminars, and conferences finally laid the foundation for the book (in Dutch) “Nieuwe Business Modellen: Samen Werken aan Waardecreatie” that appeared in 2014. The book was written by more than forty co-authors and baptized on November 13, 2014, at a major symposium in Utrecht. The book almost instantly became a bestseller. You can order a copy of the book in Dutch here. The book was then translated in English as “New Business Models: Working Together to Value Creation” and was published in 2016 only as an e-book. You can order a copy of the book in English after the 15th of May.