Business models for innovation

The societal challenges we are facing today place great demands on governments and organisations. Innovation is sorely needed. Usually, this is something that organisations do independently. At TNO Vector we can help develop a business model for innovation. The key is: collaborating with other organisations.

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A business model for innovation could also be referred to as a chain transformation or value network.

We use a business model for innovation in different situations, including in the fields of digitalisation, agriculture, mobility, chemicals, the energy transition, and circularity, for example. The approach is most useful at the start of an innovation project: the fuzzy front end.

Developing a business model for innovation

Our approach is participatory: the organisations concerned genuinely play a part in shaping the business model for innovation. This takes place in workshops and involves several phases:

  • During the first phase we analyse and take stock of the situation.
  • In the next phase we design the various new business models together.
  • The third phase is the implementation phase.

The design component involves the participatory design of a collaborative business model. Professionals are used to focusing primarily on their own organisation. That is how we were trained. In our approach we examine the connection between the collective interest and the individual interests of each stakeholder. This is something new.

Working together on the collective interest

A key point to bear in mind regarding our methodology for developing a business model for innovation is that there is usually no single client. Instead, there are several organisations engaging in a transition together. They therefore have a collective interest. Often there is one party that takes the initiative and we then involve the stakeholders in the project. In many cases these are chain partners, but sometimes that is too limited. It may also involve an entire industry.

As a result, acquisition is not a straightforward process. Our method is particularly useful in the case of grant projects. In such projects the parties involved have a clear picture of their joint business model as well as their individual business models. We can complement that with the following and identify the collective interest:

  • Individual business cases and investment plans (quantitative)
  • Individual and joint implementation plans
  • Development of governance between the parties

Our method of developing a business model for innovation helps transform chains. In many cases individual organisations do not manage to get to this point themselves, as their attention is focused inwards. What is needed is a neutral party that can pinpoint the collective interest. A party that can oversee the connections, support the process, and help resolve conflicts. That party is TNO Vector.