Copy To Be Original: The Business Model Navigator

Posted by Michael Lindberg on Oct 18, 2017 11:00:01 AM

business model navigatorThe Business Model Navigator

Of course you know the phrase ´There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel´. It describes the fact that when you take a close look at things only very little is actually new. In most cases what we consider innovations are just minor variations (not always improvements) of something that already exists, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


But how can you stand out and position your company if you merely copy what others have done? Well, a direct copy will not take you ahead of your competitors; instead you should be inspired by them – and not least companies in other industries. Take the best, mix it, and in that way come up with something unique. I think this is also what Kim & Mauborgne, the two INSEAD professors, should have taught us in the book “Blue Ocean Strategy”, but they never got around to it. A shame really, because their thinking was spot on: ‘Beat your competitor without trying to beat your competitor’.

The Uncontested Market

Kim & Mauborgne urged us to leave the current highly competitive industry and create new uncontested markets in which to prosper and that makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, their tools were – and still are – inadequate to reach that target, so the companies were left to themselves on their journey to the uncontested market.


It would take more than a decade before an appropriate tool was introduced: The St. Gallen Business Model Navigator. That tool is all about copying to become original, but don’t copy your competitors, instead copy other companies’ successful business models. Why reinvent the wheel? Why not accept the fact that other companies in other industries have made great breakthroughs and that the ‘not invented here’ syndrome is nothing but an obstacle to success?

'Classic' Business Model Innovation

Do you have an HP printer? Then you probably know that the printer is sold at a very low price whereas the consumables (ink cartridges) cost a minor fortune. Do you have a Nestlé Nespresso machine? If so, it probably wasn’t expensive, but the consumables (coffee capsules) are very expensive. These are examples of a business model that is neither new nor innovative. It is a more or less direct copy of Gillette’s more than a century old “razor and blades” business model – sell the core product at a low price and make a fortune on the consumables. Why not copy this? That’s what HP and Nestlé did.


Who can you learn from to come up with a new, successful and profitable business model? Swallow your pride and start copying – that might make you original.


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Innovation is closely linked to providing solutions to your customers' problems, frustrations and challenges. But how do you identify these customer pain points? Our free mini eBook is concerned with detecting opportunites for growth by pinpointing the challenges your target group face, allowing you to provide the solutions they need. Please click on the link above to download your free copy.


Topics: Change