Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers Review
Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow's enterprises. If your organization needs to adapt to harsh new realities, but you don't yet have a strategy that will get you out in front of your competitors, you need Business Model Generation. Co-created by 470 "Business Model Canvas" practitioners from 45 countries, the book features a beautiful, highly visua... More >> Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

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6 Responses to “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers”

  • This is an absolutely superb book and my first and only book on business models. It is so up to date and filled with gems that I feel no need to read another anytime soon.

    The book is aptly titled, being all about how to generate business models. However, you have to know what it is before you can generate it. To this end, the first section of the book is devoted to introducing a standard language and format for talking about business models. They introduce nine key items which serve as the building blocks for all business models. These are listed below, illustrated with Skype’s business model.

    CUSTOMER SEGMENTS: Who will use the product?

    1) web users globally 2) people who want to call phones

    VALUE PROPOSITION: Why will they use the product?

    1) free Internet and video calling 2) cheap calls to phones (SkypeOut)

    CHANNELS: How will the product be delivered to the customers?

    […] and headset partnerships

    CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS: how will you develop and maintain contact with your customers in each segment?

    Mass customizedMass customized

    REVENUE STREAMS: How is revenue generated from which customer segments?

    1) Free 2) SkypeOut prepaid or subscription

    ACTIVITIES: What are the key things that you need to do to create and deliver the product?

    Software development

    RESOURCES: What assets are required to create and deliver the product?

    PARTNERS: Who will you want to partner with (e.g suppliers, outsourcing)

    Payment providers, Distribution partners, Telco Partners

    COST STRUCTURE: What are the main sources of cost required to create and deliver the product?

    Software development, complaint management

    These building blocks are laid out on a page in a very specific way, referred to as a “business model canvas”. As each chapter unfolds, we get a clearer and clearer understanding of each building block and how to use them to create, evaluate and communicate business models.

    The business model canvas can be used to describe any of a wide variety of business models. Patterns emerge which correspond to categories of business models. For example, the Long Tail business model is all about selling less of more. The focus is on “offering a large number of niche products, each of which sells relatively infrequently”. This pattern is illustrated with the transformation of the book publishing industry and Netflix.

    Another example is the so-called “Freemium” business model used by Skype and countless other Internet businesses. This is compared with the standard Telco model making the two models easy to compare. A similar analysis compares the traditional computer gaming model used by Sony and Microsoft which competes on high performance with Nintendo’s Wii business model which focuses on casual gamers and a dramatic reduction in development costs. Visualizing these alternatives on a canvas is very powerful (much easier than the above lists).

    The Freemium model is a special case of a more general “multi-sided market” pattern which “brings together two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers”. For example, Google gives away a variety of services to one customer segment, the average web user, and earn income from keyword auctions from advertisers, which comprise the other side of the pattern. As is typical with the multi-sided market pattern, the key resource is the platform which facilitates interactions between the two customer segments.

    Another major section of the book is devoted to designing business models. Very explicit instructions and tips are given in the context of an overall process. Different phases include: gathering customer insights, ideation/brainstorming, visual thinking, prototyping, storytelling and scenarios.

    A major section on strategy includes a section on how to evaluate existing business models, identifying problems, and brainstorming about possible solutions. Nintendo’s Wii is featured. One problem with the traditional gaming model is that consoles are sold at a loss to a relatively small market. By eliminating the huge cost of gaming platform development and adding motion-controlled games with a family focus, the market grew much larger.

    The design and layout of the book is equally delightful. It is a cross between a Powerpoint pitch and a regular book, and is easy and fun to read.

    The only negative I can think of is the binding. I don’t know the lingo, but basically, the front and back (hard) covers are not directly connected to each other. Between them are the sewn and glued sections of the book that are normally hidden. Unfortunately, the book seems to be flimsy. But this is a minor niggle.

    Overall, this is a brilliant book. If you have any interest in business models, get it as soon as you can. I got mine by chance on a recent trip to Europe while visiting a colleague. I saw that it was not available yet in the US, so he traded me for my copy of an equally excellent book: The new business road test: What entrepreneurs and executives should do before writing a business plan (2nd Edition).
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • Danilo TIC says:

    What have I learned from this book?

    Among other insights, I’ve learned how to create and discover new ideas and how to improve or innovate a business. The authors and creative team have put together an excellent book, one that changed my viewpoint about business after I read through all the topics. Now I have the glasses of business model canvases on, and seeing through them, I assess startups, companies, sport clubs, government institutions, etc. all from a perspective quite different from the one I used to have. I also used what I acquired from this book to create new business models. In addition, It helped me practice with prototypes for business models and with business model combining. I recommend this excellent book to everyone interested in the subject. It will definitely change the way a reader regards businesses and business models.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • The area of New Business Model Development is helping to demystify a complicated area of business thinking. This is a very well crafted book, it is clear, has excellent diagrams and logic processes and will certainly enable existing and start-up companies to review their business strategies using the range of tools on offer. The methods are fairly straight forward and so it gives the reader interested in business processes a fresh look at organisation within the firm and how value propositions can be integrated within the business model process. I was interested to see if the book could help in value chain opportunities that link informal and formal markets and I am still working on that. However this new book has certainly been a very helpful insight into current business planning and thinking and I would recommend it to people seeking tools to dissect and reformulate new and existing business plans.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • Finally a book that gets real about innovation and talks less about why it’s important (we all know that) and gets into the nuts and bolts of how to do it: a mix of strategic thinking and cultural shift. This book will help you break out of traditional thought patterns that are getting in the way of fresh thinking. In addition, it practices what it preaches. The method for creating the book was as innovative as the content itself, involving hundreds of people in a mass-collaboration effort. The book is also beautifully designed and a joy to read. Ifnyounare serious about innovation, you must have it on your shelf.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • The other reviewers have already told you what the book says… I would like to tell you what the book can do. Knowing how your business is organized… from who your customers are, to what process you use to deliver your value proposition, to how that creates your revenue streams… all good stuff, and useful. But, you either grow your business or go out of business. There is no standing still. That S.O.B. down the street wants your customers. You need to find new ways to keep them. This book gives you a pattern to not only identify your current business model, but by using the same tools, to also figure out ways to build tomorrow’s version of your business.

    In fact I would venture to say that there is more information in the book on planning the future than there is on defining your current business model. (If you are just getting started figuring out your business model – this book will help you too; but I suspect that most readers will already be in business – I doubt most rookies would use the phrase ‘business model generation’ and therefore will come across this book further down their entrepreneurial path.)

    And my highest compliment of all is that this is the first business book that I have encountered that is friendly to visual thinkers. Although its an illustrated business book, it feels more like an annotated illustration to me. As most of my staff are designers and artists by education, this method of presenting the information was particularly useful to us.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • Did you guys get a chance to see the dubstep megagroup Magnetic Man at Coachella? I’ve seen their videos like 25 times


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