Business Models - Value Proposition Canvas

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Using the Value Proposition Canvas method, the customer's wishes and one's own value proposition can be worked out more precisely.

Even though the German mechanical and plant engineering industry is characterized by a high innovation capacity with regard to step-by-step innovations, there is still a need to catch up with other industries or even other countries in the area of leap and business model innovations. This online event took up the topic and showed how it can be approached systematically.

Prior to the event on 22 June 2021, an anonymous survey was conducted among the attendees. The aim of the survey was to find out more about the participants' level of experience as well as their motivations. Most of the participants came from the fields of innovation management, business management and research and development, and two thirds of them considered themselves "beginners" in the field of new business development. Participants responded to the question "Why should a company offer a digital business model?" by saying, among other things, that it was often in response to customer requests. There is an increasingly digital-savvy customer base and an increasing expectation from customer end-users regarding the expansion of the traditional business model into a service provider.

Companies from the mechanical and plant engineering sector often promise themselves to build up a new type of competence through digitization. Other motivations are to "develop further into a holistic solution provider from a strategic point of view". The pay-per-use model with regularly recurring revenues, which is already widespread in the consumer sector, was cited as one possibility for the further development of existing business models.

The participants of the event saw on the one hand the opportunities that arise from new business models, but also the risk if one's own "traditional" business model is not developed further. One participant pointed out that due to constantly shrinking margins in the core business, a reorientation was necessary. Although participants considered themselves inexperienced in developing digital business models, their employers are already offering companies new digital business models. These include, for example, services based on remote maintenance, pay-per-use or even the extension of classic products with a digital layer.

Simona Waibel, consultant and trainer at Innodrei GmbH, pointed out the high innovative capacity of young, agile companies and startups. Young companies, "are currently sprouting from the ground and boldly moving forward with digital topics". The companies based on a more "traditional" business model can take them as a role model and learn a thing or two from the startups.This is especially true in the area of radical business model innovations. As the survey for the event also showed, what one's own company can offer (future) customers in terms of actual benefits plays a central role.

Waibel presented the Value Proposition Canvas method: Here, the first question is what wishes and problems the customer has and how these can be structured. In a second step, the company asks itself how they can be reconciled with its own offer. In addition to clarifying the customer's wishes at an early stage, early testing with prototypes is also advantageous in order to avoid future undesirable developments.

The theoretical basics, which were presented by InnoDrei during the impulse lecture, were then deepened in three parallel workshops with practical examples. In each case, one participant presented his or her own problem. The first question asked was what tasks and wishes the "volunteer's" client in question has and how these are solved on the part of the company. In the context of the collegial consultation, various suggestions were made by the participants to expand the existing offer, in one case that of a gearbox manufacturer.