The Critical Perspective of Business Models That Underpins Case Study 2

Researchers (Nel 2010)  have pointed out that while few concepts in business today are as widely discussed as the concept of business models, it is also a concept that is often misused (Picard, 2000), poorly understood, particularly in the context of the Web (Rappa, 2001), and seldom systematically studied (Weill et al., 2004).

A major obstacle in classifying digital business models is that many are still evolving, changing rapidly and dynamically (Wang and Chan, 2003). Evolving digital business models may render the taxonomy of today obsolete tomorrow. Those wanting to understand the range of perspectives on businesses models are advised to step back from the business activity itself to look at the basis and the underlying characteristics that make commerce in the product or service possible (Chaharbaghi et al., 2003). These scholars argue that an essential first step is to acknowledge the models we employ are rooted in the underlying assumptions and context that govern their creation: ‘‘It is this relationship that determines the meaning, legitimacy and impact of models’’ (2003, p. 372). They observe business model waves which they liken to Kuhnian paradigmatic shifts, where ‘‘a series of peaceful interludes [is] punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions’’ (Kuhn, 1996). They note that in both science and business one conceptual worldview periodically replaces another and that, ‘‘as with all successful business model waves, what emerges is a view on how best to conduct business, an ideal, which promises a panacea to current business developments and pressing problems’’ (Chaharbarghi et al., 2003, p. 372).

Against that background, they propose a meta business model consisting of three interrelated strands: (1) the way of thinking; (2) the operational system; and (3) the capacity for value creation. The researchers caution that while the distinction of each is essential for explaining the concept of business, using each of these strands ‘‘will lead to a dead end’’ (Chaharbarghi et al., 2003, p. 375).

With that in mind, an exploration of the changing business models of newspapers would need to consider not only the activities in which the companies are engaged, but also the mindsets that inform them and  how the context influences the outcomes of those efforts.


Congratulations to our First Dragons’ Den Winners

NEMODE held a Dragons’ Den Workshop 23rd October 2012- 25th October 2012 at the Digital Economy All Hands Conference, Aberdeen.  The focus of the workshop was on New Business Models.

Congratulations to our winning business idea Mogees(Bruno Zamborlin & Aidan Sheridan)  who win £10,000

And our runners up who each win £3,000:

Dynamon (Angus Webb)
Evolved (Chris Paulson & Andras Sobester)
Satalia  (Daniel Hulme)



The diffusion of electric vehicles: step-change or mass transition?

Can the market for a new technology like electric vehicles grow and survive if it occurs a progressive, step- transition?  I will argue that the answer is NO, for the following reasons.

First, many other examples of successful technological innovations recently have not occurred as linear, slow incremental changes: they have been exponentially-growing, societal revolutions of the way people live and interact.  Very clear examples include the internet, smart mobile phones, the cloud, and so on.  If EVs are too slow on the uptake, and fail to be a “disruptive technology”, they will soon enough be outcompeted by alternative fuel technologies.

Second, a widespread adoption of EVs requires charging infrastructure that is interoperable and information systems that are standardised.  Setting up such an infrastructure cannot be done in a piecemeal fashion.  Rather, it requires large-scale coordination of developers and, potentially, considerable market power to impose one’s own standards.  If you are a member of one EV-charging scheme, and you are locked out from charging stations because of your exclusive contract with your provider, or the incompatible ID recognition software, you have all the reasons in the world to tell your friends *not* to buy an EV.  And user experiences are precisely what this industry relies on to grow.

So, a mixed fleet where a small percentage of drivers have an EV and others don’t, is not a likely viable scenario.  EVs cannot be expected to be perfect right away, yet for a consumer-driven market to materialize, they need to be ready to scale up.  The future will be all-electric – or not.

TED Talk on Trust

Recorded at TEDGlobal, Edinburgh, in June 2012, Rachel Botsman explains why the currency of the new economy is ‘trust’. Do you agree? Leave a comment below.

IT as a Utility Call

Call for Expression of Interest for ITaaU Network Plus Pilot Studies
Closing date for EoI: 17:00 on 12th November 2012

Applicants are invited to apply for shortpilot research study funding from the IT as a Utility Network+, set up as a priority challenge area by the RCUK Digital Economy Theme (DE). These pilot studies will be no longer than 6 months in duration and are intended to test new ideas or create novel linkages between research areas.
Please see the following documents for further details:

DE IT as a Utility Network – Pilot Call .pdf

DE IT as a Utility Network – Pilot Call .docx
For further information on the IT as a Utility Network+ – the Digital Economy theme and
Please contact Jeremy Frey or Sarah Milsted with any queries.

New Call from RCUK DE (NEMinDE)

The RCUK Digital Economy Theme (DET) wants, through its investments, to engage more with business schools and economics researchers who have been under-represented in existing grants. This need was highlighted by the recent DE Impact Review. To encourage new participants to participate quickly with the community, RCUK would like to promote engagement between existing investments e.g. digital economy hubs, networks and new researchers.

Up to £3.5 million has been earmarked for this call, which seeks to support cross disciplinary research as well as building links between groups and disciplines. This call is being commissioned in close partnership with ESRC. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the call, ESRC will be contributing up to £1M to the call and the DET will be contributing up to £2.5M towards the call. Subject to the quality of the submissions received, it is anticipated that we will fund up to five proposals. Grants funded under this call will provide funding to support a suite of related research and people-based activities, which should complement the work of the DET Network+ ‘New Economic Models in the Digital Economy’.

The deadline for proposal submission is 16:00 on 11 December 2012.

Please note: Anyone intending to submit a proposal to this call must register their interest by completing the ‘Intent to Submit a Full Proposal Form’ on the RCUK DE Page by 12:00 on 19 November 2012.

A pdf with more details can be found here: NEMinDE Call

You may wish to contact researchers already working in this area. The list of attendees from our Cambridge Workshop in July would be a good place to start. It can be downloaded here.

For more on what was discussed during the Cambridge Workshop, visit our Outputs Page.

New Forms of Urban Mobility

What do Oslo, Amsterdam, Paris, Oxford, San Francisco, and Houston have in common?  All have an electric-car-sharing program.  Urban mobility is taking on new forms with the introduction of small, eco-friendly vehicles at parking stations across cities available for a time- or distance-based subscription.  The concept is similar to a cell phone contract: for a monthly, annual, or in some cases daily or weekly fee, users can take out an EV and return it to any other station in the city after use.  This shift to mobility-as-a-service, or “servitization”, is the new trend in private transport, as the younger generation is changing its attitude towards driving.  Vehicle leasing is increasingly appearing as a more attractive option in cities than ownership of a vehicle.

Social merchandising is getting visual

In the fashion sector, recent innovations in social merchandising models draw on both the social and the media power of the internet to project products to customers’ social networks. In short, one can say that social merchandising is also getting visual. Read more…



Can you 3D-print a bikini or a pair of shoes?

3D-Printing is really a disruptive technology. It is paving the way for new business models that bring mass customisation and value co-creation capability to higher levels. Is there room for 3D-Printing in the fashion sector? Definitely yes. You can 3D-print bikinis, footwear, and accessories. Read more in Case Study 1’s 3D -Printing section.

Webcam Social Shopper (WSS)

Have you ever thought of having a preview of a specific article of clothing from a retail shop by “virtually trying” it without leaving the comfort of house? If you have a webcam in your computer, try the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS) web application developed by Zugara and used by LazyLazy.