New Kid in the Business Model World – The Smart Business Modeler

by René Bohnsack,

New business model tools are needed. The ability to develop innovative business models is a key capability to maintain long-term competitiveness in today’s world. The failure to create a sound business model is a ‘top 20 reason’ for start-ups to fail (CB Insights, 2018), and the lack of experience in new business models accounts for 16% of disrupted industries (KPMG, 2015). Two of the main reasons why this happens are that (a) setting up a sound business model is an art, and it is hard to teach; and (b) for an educator to provide updated and state-of-the art knowledge for various industries is a dreadful challenge.

The Smart Business Modeler offers a new solution for educators and their entrepreneurial teams. The Smart Business Modeler is scratching this itch by empowering educators to foster lateral thinking, push implementation and support their students in building business models that create and capture more value (Fig. 1). In its core, the Smart Business Modeler is an online innovation platform that enhances the success of idea development projects thanks to its unique coaching process. The platform guides students through all the major steps that the idea needs to go through to become a commercial success: idea design, customer discovery and validation, business modelling, strategy and business plan development, compelling pitch deck design (Fig. 2). Such an intuitive approach to idea development is particularly useful for a blended academic curriculum, as a key ‘Blackboard Business Buddy’.

When it comes to business model development, industry-specific business model pattern packs for predictive success allow entrepreneurs to discover new ways of creating and capturing value from their ideas. The industry pattern packs are useful for educators and organizations to avoid cognitive biases and to be aware of current market trends. The Smart Business Modeler provides continuous guidance based on IA (Intelligence Augmentation), combining the latest technologies with the state-of-the-art teaching and research findings on business model development (Fig. 3).

We invite you to watch this 60-second video that explains how this is done in practice.

The platform also equips educators with an intelligent way to create and manage their online courses (i.e. about entrepreneurship, business model innovation, digital innovation), as well as cohorts and their students` projects (Fig. 4).

As a result, the Smart Business Modeler provides entrepreneurship educators with a unique platform that augments their teaching experience and empowers their students to develop viable ideas.


Fig. 1.

Fig 2

Fig. 2. Idea coaching process on Smart Business Modeler

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Fig. 3. Business model innovation via the Smart Business Modeler

Fig 4

Fig. 4. Coach account: set up a project-based course for your students

The tool has been tested, used, and improved based on the experience with a broad range of organizations. As the choice of top business schools (i.e. University of San Diego, Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics), innovation accelerators (i.e. the MIT DesignX Accelerator), industry leaders (i.e. Grundfos), start-ups and consultants, the Smart Business Modeler is already being used by over 500 unique users.


Fig. 5. Smart Business Modeler workshop with University of San Diego (CA) MBA students

Sustainability and circular economy business model patterns are included. Besides industry-specific pattern packs, the Smart Business Modeler also uses two sets of business model patterns which are explicitly related to sustainability considerations: a set of 45 sustainability-oriented business model patterns, and a set of 25 patterns to support business ideas for a circular economy.

How does the Smart Business Modeler work? After registration, individuals or entire teams can create unlimited number of projects with free access to the following features: an on-boarding online course for anyone to master the business modelling process; step-wise idea development approach; a unique pattern data base of 350+ patterns and 7 industry specific pattern packs for enhancing creativity through a faster, easier, and more accurate approach to business model innovation; an IA-based guidance to develop robust business models online; an impressive pitch deck creator that enables anyone to quickly go from building to pitching their idea.

What users say about the Smart Business Modeler?

“If your business is global and if your business calls for speed and agility, than the only way I would claim to work with business models is via this online business model tool”

– Morten Bach Jensen, PhD, Group Vice President at Grundfos

“It is a structured approach to gathering your thoughts and then putting them on the canvas. This has been very valuable!”

– Andreas Kolind, Customer Insights Manager at Grundfos

How to use the Smart Business Modeler? The Smart Business Modeler uses a freemium business model. It is free for anyone to use. Premium accounts are provided for organizations, such as academic institutions or corporations. Such premium accounts include branding, tailor-made courses and custom-made functionality.

If you would like to learn more about the premium account, get in touch with us:

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