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Addressing the design-implementation gap of sustainable business models by prototyping : A tool for planning and executing small-scale pilots

Baldassarre, Brian ; Konietzko, Jan ; Brown, Phil ; Calabretta, Giulia ; Bocken, Nancy LU ; Karpen, Ingo O. and Hultink, Erik Jan (2020) In Journal of Cleaner Production 255.
Abstract

Next to the redesign of industrial products and processes, sustainable business model innovation is a strategic approach to integrate environmental and social concerns into the objectives and operations of organizations. One of the major challenges of this approach is that many promising business model ideas fail to reach the market, which is needed to achieve impact. In the literature, the issue is referred to as a “design-implementation gap.” This paper explores how that critical gap may be bridged. In doing so, we contribute to sustainable business model innovation theory and practice. We contribute to theory by connecting sustainable business model innovation with business experimentation and strategic design, two innovation... (More)

Next to the redesign of industrial products and processes, sustainable business model innovation is a strategic approach to integrate environmental and social concerns into the objectives and operations of organizations. One of the major challenges of this approach is that many promising business model ideas fail to reach the market, which is needed to achieve impact. In the literature, the issue is referred to as a “design-implementation gap.” This paper explores how that critical gap may be bridged. In doing so, we contribute to sustainable business model innovation theory and practice. We contribute to theory by connecting sustainable business model innovation with business experimentation and strategic design, two innovation approaches that leverage prototyping as a way to iteratively implement business ideas early on. Using a design science research methodology, we combine theoretical insights from these three literatures into a tool for setting up small-scale pilots of sustainable business models. We apply, evaluate, and improve our tool through a rigorous process by working with nine startups and one multinational company. As a result, we provide normative theory in terms of the sustainable business model innovation process, explaining that piloting a prototype forces organizations to simultaneously consider the desirability (i.e., what users want), feasibility (i.e., what is technically achievable), viability (i.e., what is financially possible), and sustainability (i.e., what is economically, socially and environmentally acceptable) of a new business model. Doing so early on is functional to bridge the design-implementation gap of sustainable business models. We contribute to practice with the tool itself, which organizations can use to translate sustainable business model ideas defined “on paper” into small-scale pilots as a first implementation step. We encourage future research building on the limitations of this exploratory study by working with a larger sample of companies through longitudinal case studies, to further explain how these pilots can be executed successfully.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Business experimentation, Business model innovation, Design thinking, Implementation, Prototyping, Sustainable innovation
in
Journal of Cleaner Production
volume
255
article number
120295
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85078937524
ISSN
0959-6526
DOI
10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120295
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
378eac71-1124-47f5-88e5-eecfc40f08cf
date added to LUP
2020-02-14 09:19:57
date last changed
2020-02-26 07:41:47
@article{378eac71-1124-47f5-88e5-eecfc40f08cf,
  abstract     = {<p>Next to the redesign of industrial products and processes, sustainable business model innovation is a strategic approach to integrate environmental and social concerns into the objectives and operations of organizations. One of the major challenges of this approach is that many promising business model ideas fail to reach the market, which is needed to achieve impact. In the literature, the issue is referred to as a “design-implementation gap.” This paper explores how that critical gap may be bridged. In doing so, we contribute to sustainable business model innovation theory and practice. We contribute to theory by connecting sustainable business model innovation with business experimentation and strategic design, two innovation approaches that leverage prototyping as a way to iteratively implement business ideas early on. Using a design science research methodology, we combine theoretical insights from these three literatures into a tool for setting up small-scale pilots of sustainable business models. We apply, evaluate, and improve our tool through a rigorous process by working with nine startups and one multinational company. As a result, we provide normative theory in terms of the sustainable business model innovation process, explaining that piloting a prototype forces organizations to simultaneously consider the desirability (i.e., what users want), feasibility (i.e., what is technically achievable), viability (i.e., what is financially possible), and sustainability (i.e., what is economically, socially and environmentally acceptable) of a new business model. Doing so early on is functional to bridge the design-implementation gap of sustainable business models. We contribute to practice with the tool itself, which organizations can use to translate sustainable business model ideas defined “on paper” into small-scale pilots as a first implementation step. We encourage future research building on the limitations of this exploratory study by working with a larger sample of companies through longitudinal case studies, to further explain how these pilots can be executed successfully.</p>},
  author       = {Baldassarre, Brian and Konietzko, Jan and Brown, Phil and Calabretta, Giulia and Bocken, Nancy and Karpen, Ingo O. and Hultink, Erik Jan},
  issn         = {0959-6526},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Journal of Cleaner Production},
  title        = {Addressing the design-implementation gap of sustainable business models by prototyping : A tool for planning and executing small-scale pilots},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120295},
  doi          = {10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120295},
  volume       = {255},
  year         = {2020},
}