A business model design framework for viability; a business ecosystem approach

Austin D’Souza, Hans Wortmann, George Huitema, Hugo Velthuijsen

Keywords

Business model design, energy business model, business model design framework, viable business model


Abstract

Purpose: To facilitate the design of viable business models by proposing a novel business model design framework
for viability.

Design: A design science research method is adopted to develop a business model design framework for viability. The business model design framework for viability is demonstrated by using it to design a business model for an energy enterprise. The aforementioned framework is validated in theory by using expert opinion.

Findings: It is difficult to design viable business models because of the changing market conditions, and competing interests of stakeholders in a business ecosystem setting. Although the literature on business models provides guidance on designing viable business models, the languages (business model ontologies) used to design business models largely ignore such guidelines. Therefore, we propose a business model design framework for viability to overcome the identified shortcomings. The theoretical validation of the business model design framework for viability indicates that it is able to successfully bridge the identified shortcomings, and it is able to facilitate the design of viable business models. Moreover, the validation of the framework in practice is currently underway.

Originality / value: Several business model ontologies are used to conceptualise and evaluate business models. However, their rote application will not lead to viable business models, because they largely ignore vital design elements, such as design principles, configuration techniques, business rules, design choices, and assumptions. Therefore, we propose and validate a novel business model design framework for viability that overcomes the aforementioned
shortcomings.


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