Lost In Transformation

Explore The Wilderness To Find Anomalies: Business Model Innovation Explained

May 27, 2021 MING Labs Season 2 Episode 37
Lost In Transformation
Explore The Wilderness To Find Anomalies: Business Model Innovation Explained
Chapters
2:00
Denis' way to entrepreneurship
4:59
Denis' previous ventures: Setting up a startup in the metal industry
8:16
The start of his journey with Business Model Innovation: Transforming his startup
11:07
Successful start of a Business Model Innovation consultancy
13:40
Methods and tools used by Denis to drive transformation for clients
15:44
The importance of being able to differentiate your business from competitors
17:10
Crucial final stage of validating and testing your ideas outside
18:18
Differences in approaching the change by different organizations
22:38
Explore magical and mystical ways to find insights off the beaten track
24:10
Spot anomalies to discover a new business model
28:19
Making mistakes while moving in the wilderness to find solutions for clients
30:26
How does Covid-19 affect organizational transformation and business model innovation?
32:41
What's next: A book on what and why to transform businesses
Lost In Transformation
Explore The Wilderness To Find Anomalies: Business Model Innovation Explained
May 27, 2021 Season 2 Episode 37
MING Labs

Looking for a step-by-step guide to transforming organizations? While there are many factors influencing this process, we talked to a leader who successfully helps transform companies using Business Model Innovation: Denis Oakley, Head of Business Model Innovation at Denis Oakley & Co:
www.denis-oakley.com
Tune in to this episode to find out more about Denis’ tips in exploring off the beaten path to find anomalies, and to discover the great value of Business Model Innovation in sparking change in organizations.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Looking for a step-by-step guide to transforming organizations? While there are many factors influencing this process, we talked to a leader who successfully helps transform companies using Business Model Innovation: Denis Oakley, Head of Business Model Innovation at Denis Oakley & Co:
www.denis-oakley.com
Tune in to this episode to find out more about Denis’ tips in exploring off the beaten path to find anomalies, and to discover the great value of Business Model Innovation in sparking change in organizations.

Denis: (00:02)

So, I'm looking much more into space where we're looking at the ideas, how do I do ideas change the world? How do you generate the ideas that are going to create companies that transform the world? How can you reliably be creating companies like Google or Amazon by spotting anomalies?

Christine: (00:24)

Welcome to the Lost in Transformation podcast series dedicated to the complex world of Digital Transformation. We feature guests from large corporations, start-ups, consultancies and more, to shed light on the success factors around Innovation, Transformation, and adjacent topics.
We share first-hand insights and inspiration from experts for all the intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, and anyone curious about Digital Transformation.

Christine: (00:53)

Denis Oakley is the Head of Business Model Innovation at Denis Oakley & Co, his own Management Consulting firm. With a background in founding several startups, he’s now helping other companies transform with Business Model Innovation, and shares the tools and methods from his entrepreneurial journey with us. We hope you enjoy this episode.

Christine: (01:15)

Hi Denis, thanks for joining me today on the show "Lost In Transformation".  And, I'm very happy to have you here as a guest, and thanks so much for taking the time today as well. So, you are the Head of Business Model Innovation at your Management Consulting firm, Denis Oakley & Co. And today you're taking us along your past entrepreneurial journey and share about the impact of business model innovation in terms of transforming companies as well. And I'm also super excited to learn more about that. So without further ado, let's jump right into it. And to begin with, I'd like to learn more about yourself and your background first, basically your background that makes you the entrepreneur that you are today. Can you share more about that?

Denis: (01:58)

Sure. I can. Christine, thank you very much for having me on here today. I think the thing that started me really offered on an entrepreneurial background is when I did a philosophy degree, at university and I got really, really interested in understanding why the world works. That's why I did philosophy may not have been the best idea, but I focus very much on the history of ideas. How do ideas change the world? How do they change? How do they interact with each other? And that started me off on my journey. I discovered like I think most of us do, that philosophy is not a particularly good way to get a good job. It's not particularly high-paying. And so I ended up going into, what do you call it? Railway engineering. I became a railway engineer systems engineer, designing safety-critical systems to stop railway trains, sort of going into each other at high speed.

Denis: (02:49)

And that was some sort of fun. I learned how to build systems, build processes, but it was very much a corporate environment. And I was always saying, I want to do this, when can we do it like that? What happens if we don't like that? And they kept on saying to me, Denis, do not reinvent the wheel. We don't do things like this here. And, I felt like I was just in one of those medieval iron maidens, you know, the sort of the metal cases with the spikes that slowly closed down on you, absolutely trapped. And it got to get to a point. And I think I was working for a big energy company, E.ON, and, my landlord said we want to sell the house, that I was renting in at the moment. So, we've got to move on the same day. The New Zealand government said we'd like to get you into the pool. You can immigrate to New Zealand. And so with my wife and I, we thought, wow, let's go for it. And we tested off whatever entrepreneurial plans and decided to head out there. And, we choose something that we thought was pretty cool and we had a little bit cause we did it.

Christine: (03:51)

Interesting. So you kind of went somewhere completely else in the beginning and figured out, okay, this is not for you. You felt a bit trapped and that kind of let you to okay, more to where you are basically today.

Denis: (04:03)

Very much so. I mean, one of my big words, my core values is an exploration and you've got to get out, you've got to go out into the jungle, whether it's a mental jungle, a spiritual jungle, a business jungle, a physical jungle to explore and find the limits. I mean, who wants limits set for you by somebody else? And when I'm working with Startups, when I'm doing things by myself, it's always, how can we break those limits? Where are the limits? How can we go beyond them? How do we go beyond the next range of hills? How do we go beyond the next horizon? How do we go beyond Michael Porter? How do, how do we go beyond the sort of the coupler in marketing and do something new, something interesting that creates something wonderful? And that's really what drives me.

Christine: (04:48)

That's amazing. And, you also have been part of founding and running startups as well, right? Can you share a bit about that?

Denis: (04:59)

So we, my wife and I, she was, I think, six months pregnant at the time, we decided that we were going to leave Europe behind and we were going to go over to Asia. We landed in Kuala Lumpur, I think it was 2007, started up by a trading company. We had the insight that the trading industry in the metals sector, which is what we were targeting, was very, very inefficient. Everything was still done by fax. And we'd seen this wonderful piece of software, made by a small little company called Salesforce, a little bit bigger now after another 15 years. And we saw that this could change absolutely everything in the industry. And we jumped in there with gay abandon, probably not knowing nearly enough about it as we should have done.

Denis: (05:47)

But we did well. We grew pretty quickly. We had a turnover of, I think, a million and a half, $2 million by the end of the first year. We got into the finals of HSBC Startup Stars, which is one of the biggest startup competitions in the UK at the time. And it was a right up there at the sort of top-level of Canary Wharf in London being quizzed by the great and good of British industry about our business model. And it was absolutely a brilliant start to entrepreneurship when you sort of go out and you create something that is creating value, that is disrupting people. And we really, really had our competitors on the run, which was very, very exciting.

Christine: (06:25)

Super interesting. So you kind of went abroad and followed your entrepreneurial journey. So you were saying that like, the startup at first, it was a bit inefficient. It wasn't performing that well. Can you share perhaps more about what was the underlying problem and how you went from there to kind of solve it?

Denis: (06:44)

Okay. I think that's a really good point. I mean, we looked at what the steel in the metal industry was like before we went in, and it's very, very cyclical in good times. You make a lot of money. We were making a 25% margin on every piece of steel that we sold. In the bad times, it's bad. And we knew that the cycle of what it is like we knew how it was going to work. And then we got absolutely killed because of the financial crisis. The cycles just disappeared. It just went down and it flat lined. It stayed flat. I mean, the margins were absolutely minuscule if we could make them. So, we got killed by economics, even though we were far more efficient, we were far more effective than everybody else. We outlasted 90% of the competitors in the market. They got wiped out because they got a much more expensive cost base. But when you go out and your customers have gotten awards, it doesn't really matter how much of a salesman you've got, how much they're, how much value you can add, how good at marketing you've got. There is no market, you cannot survive. And that was an absolutely horrendous situation. 

Christine: (07:54)

Wow. That's a really tough time. Like, when you got basically like killed by the crisis, but we see you standing here today and now being, you know, full-on into business model innovation. So how did you bridge the gap from where you were there to where you are now? How did that business model innovation concept kind of enter your life?

Denis: (08:16)

That's a great question. We've been supported by one of the Malaysian innovation agencies. I think it was created at the time and they put us on a core story to help us grow faster because we were doing really well and they introduced us docs. EVA and Proficio introduced us to the business model canvas, which think was only a year or so old at that point. And it was fun. I think like most entrepreneurs, I drew it out for the company. So that's great, put it on one side and ignored it. It was only when we got into trouble, we could see what was happening, we could see that the salesman was that, the cash flow was that, and we worked through the MBA book of everything that you need to do to sort of surviving in tough times.

Denis: (08:56)

And frankly, it slowed the process, but it didn't really work. Nothing was helping. So we sat down and I think one weekend with the business model canvas through it, I said, what can we do? Where can we go from here? And then there was the little bit of a brainwave it's like, okay, actually everything on the business model canvas it's a hypothesis. It's like a jigsaw and we can start moving things about, and they started giving us lots of insights about what the company was, where the value was, how we could explore. And so we treated data, I mean, looking back on it, we treated it as a nest of hypotheses that we could go out and test it and validate it. I didn't really realize this at the time. I was just following my instincts and exploring.

Denis: (09:39)

And we went through, I think 27, 28 different variations of our business model canvas over a period of 6 to 18 months. Most of them just crashed and burned. They didn't go anywhere. It didn't take us anywhere. It was just weekly sprints. Okay. This week, we're going to try this, this week we got to try and do this. And we narrow it down to exactly what was going to work. And eventually, we discovered that it was a combination of things we'd scrap. For most of the market, we would be focused on such selling people, steel, which was 10 centimeters to 25 centimeters thick. So, it's a very niche strategy. And, on the backside of the business model, we'd have it heavily, heavily automated. So we could quite sort of something like 10, 15, 20 times the speed of all of our competitors and do it very quickly and accurately.

Christine: (10:30)

Wow. So, you discovered the business model canvas, applied it to your own startup, and that helped you to get basically on speed again. And, now in your role, you're also helping other companies with their transformation in particular through business model innovation and the related tools here. So, it's clear to see that obviously your own experience in founding and running startups led you to the path that you are on right now. And I kind of like to know more about the start of your journey with your own company. What did any of your first approaches to helping others transform look like?

Denis: (11:07)

Well, I, I started to tell, I had no intention at the time of starting a consultancy. But I think we're a bit short of money one year. And I thought, okay, I tell you about five. So I went on Fiverr and said, right, for $5, I'm going to sketch out your business model, canvas book. And I picked up a few people like, yeah, this is good. They gave me five stars response. I got a few more, I put the price up to 10, 25, 50, a 100, 200. People just kept on coming. And now fundamentally I'm selling that pretty much the same thing for a thousand dollars for people coming to me. And what they liked about it was that I could crystallize everything that an entrepreneur was thinking about that business, about the business model, put it onto one sheet of paper and explain it very clear what their business was.

Denis: (12:02)

Because if you've spoken to a lot of entrepreneurs, some of them can have a log for 30, 40 minutes and you still, haven't got a clue what they're doing and why they're doing it and how they've got to make money. So this really helped them with the pitching. And it also sorts of helped to explain them to understand how they could use it to make money because, within most business models, there are one or more virtuous cycles of feedback metrics that make the business better and better, as you nail those. And by showing these to the guys and girls who were coming to me, they could understand what it was. They really needed to go out and execute it in the startups. And that seemed to work very, very well. I love doing it, which was even better. So eventually my wife and I threw parties, parted company, and I've slowly grown the practice of using business model innovation to where I am today.

Christine: (12:54)

That's super amazing to hear that you're also doing something that you really love and you're passionate about. And, basically, you're also helping companies to take something that on the first look is quite complicated or complex, and you try to put it on one sheet of paper and help them pitch it to others and kind of like help them present themselves to other people and other companies out there. So, you are working a lot in that field, and perhaps for the people listening who are not so familiar with business model innovation and the toolkit around it. Can you share a bit more about the work that you do now in the field of business model innovation? What kind of methods or tools do you usually use to drive transformation for clients?

Denis: (13:40)

Sure. So, I work very much with an Alexander Osterwalder toolkit. I start off with the business model generation handbook. It's a great resource. And, more than I think most people read one or two pages out of it and ignore the rest. And what I've done over the last four to five years, is taken that and turned it into a reasonably robust methodology for going through the process with clients. And the first thing that we do is just totally ignore their business model. We ignore your company, your business model. 


Denis: (14:10)

And we go out into the market. I mean, classic Porter's five forces, who are your competitors, who are the substantiates, who are the alternatives to what you're offering. And we say, okay, can we do a business model canvas for each of those companies? What is that business model? And we often get this "aha moment" from lots of the clients, lots of the more traditional clients, because they've realized that half of that competitors have got exactly the same business model that they do, which then leaves them in the point where they don't have a lot of differentiation.

Denis: (14:48)

So they've got no differentiation. They're essentially in a red sea of competition. They've got no long-term ability to control pricing, to control profits, to control the ROI that they're looking for. So this is a moment of awakening where they see, this is what I need to do. So that state that's the first stage we understand the territory. The next stage is going out and looking at what we call epicenters, where are the focuses of business models, are two companies have that core competency, key resources in, is it on the marketing side? Is it in the sort of functionality they creating the value? Let me give you an example. AWS from Amazon is all about the software farms, server farms that it's got, and it's using those to deliver the cloud services, but it's all about AWS"s resources and utilizing them.

Denis: (15:44)

Whereas somebody like Google is totally customer-centric. Everything that it does is about getting more data that can supply to its bidders in that sense. So very different approaches. And we look at there, I think, five or six different epicenters finance-driven, value-driven, offer-driven, customer-driven, resource-driven, and we try and figure out where do we want to apply? Most people in the market, I think are focused on value. The offer is, then we want to go somewhere else because you not going to be able to successfully differentiate yourself a lot of the time if you stayed playing in that sort of space. So, it's trying to get a sense of the market in that way. The third step is going out and it's using Clayton Christensen's "Jobs to be done".

Denis: (16:30)

What job, what is the problem that the customers got out there? How are they trying to solve it? Why are they hiring you to solve that? And we go out and we sort of coming up with a number of hypotheses. The next stage is to start putting all of this together, start coming up with some draft ideas about how can we build a business model that is going to go out and disrupt those existing competitors. What's going to cause them to cannibalize themselves. What's going to cause them to get really frustrated, to spend lots of money on something or other to try and respond to you. What's going to make it incredibly difficult for them to respond?

Denis: (17:09)

And the final stage is to go out and actually start testing, validating this out in the real world to see what actually works, because a lot of it up to this point has just been thinking about brainwork, trying to find something that works, but really with any new business. But if you don't test it, you're gonna be in the world of pied is lots of entrepreneurs I've at the time found.
 
Christine: (17:32)

That's actually super interesting to hear that you have sort of like a five-step process, or like a secret recipe, so to say, for finding your success and for helping others with the methods and tools from the business model innovation toolkit. And now also looking on your client's side, it's really interesting to hear about your work with different companies, different institutions in driving change together. But I can also imagine it might not always be easy, you know, you coming in from the outside and wanting to drive change. Do you have an example of how you helped your clients with their struggles and how they accepted change and transformation to move their business forward, or how was their openness or reluctance towards change?

Denis: (18:18)

I think it very much depends on who I'm working with. Often the people who really, really need me, are the people who are least able to change. I've worked with some listed Palm oil plantations in Malaysia. And, that has just been very, very difficult indeed because they're not in a state where they're able to really think about change. But I also worked last year, I can't say the name, but it's one of the larger British universities, and they came to me. So, we were really worried about the future of work. What's that going to mean for the university? How do we start looking at our business model to make sure that we still gotta be relevant in 2050 or moving forward and right? Okay. This is really cool discovery, business model innovation and business model innovation is almost always about disruptive innovation. It's about making a big step change.

Denis: (19:14)

So I was very excited and then they said it to me, Yes, So Dennis currently we're growing at about 5% a year. So if your work helps us grow at about 6% a year, that would be absolutely great. Okay. Well, this is not going to, how can we do this? You're asking for disruptive innovation, but at the same time, you only want incremental innovation because your organization is very, very conservative. And so what we're doing there is we're sort of slowly working through all the committees to get funding, to get it moving on, knowing that to a certain extent, this is a little bit of a Trojan horse that's being sold there, and it's going to be a lot more disruptive as it goes out into the market and starts reaching its full potential.

Denis: (19:59)

So, that's what it's like working with larger organizations. There's a lot more politics. There's a lot more resistance to change. It's like that there's an accelerator. They want to be doing something. But at the same time, there's a break and different people are controlling those. Whereas when you come to startups, it's a lot more fun. You can move a lot more quickly. I was working with that Malaysian startup last year, saver of life who delivers vegan food to people in Kuala Lumpur. And then, everything went wrong when a lockdown happened because they lost, we lost all of our sales channels. Everything went somewhere, sitting down with the business model canvas. And when you've exhausted, a lot of the obvious things on it, or moving it around, you start asking stupid questions, things that, which is so stupid that normally you wouldn't do it because they're really good if you take them seriously of unlocking a lot of value.

Denis: (20:54)

And I can't remember who it was, but somebody says, well, what happens if we give away all of our food for free? And okay, so there is the moment of shock. And I said, okay, we are going to do to add onto that. And within about 20, 30 minutes, we can actually come up with a business model where we could give everything away for free. And that in under a month increased sales by 20 or 30 times compared to what they were before lockdown. And then we're growing at 20% a month. So, it was a huge change just by using the business model canvas to get a very different insight or way of looking at the business model that you're playing around with. So to sum it up, entrepreneurs, startups are a lot more agile. They're a lot more open to being innovative on the business model. Larger corporations, it's a lot of fun, but at the same time, there are constraints about how radical they will be. 

Christine: (21:51)

Basically, with your example, you were saying that you actually, by just starting to ask stupid questions, figured out completely new ways to improve the business model and also help the company. So that's quite a nice approach to change the business model and to go a different way, that maybe you wouldn't have chosen to if you weren't in that position. So, maybe also that COVID situation here helped to think out of the box and think of completely new and different situations here. And when you look back and, like your work that you're doing with the clients that you have and when you find those "aha moments", are there bigger learnings that you can share with us, where you would say, okay, this is something that sticks out and that you want to share?

Denis: (22:38)

I think the thing that really leaps out to me at the top I've learned over the last five, six years as I've been doing this is that if we stick to the bright brain approach of being very logical and analytical, everything's a lot harder. By that, I mean, most people who do strategy, they've gone to a business school like me. They know most of the strategy professors, they know most of the models. So, when we sit down with a company pretty much, by and large, we all do the same things and give them that same type of data, we came to the same results. And that's one reason why you get everybody building copper mines at the same time. And then a few years later, the price will collapse and, or 5G networks or something similar like that. So, you then end up trapped by competition. And so one of the things that I really like is Rory Sutherland, who I can't remember, he works with one of the big ad agencies, but he talks about being a lot more magical, being a lot more mystical, doing really stupid things to be looking for insight. And so you're getting off the beaten track. And so this comes back to the exploration again, right? How many wonderful new plants you're going to find by walking on
the side of the motorway? Probably not many, because if it existed, somebody would have already picked it up. You've got to be going out into the wilderness and it's the wilderness and a lot of wasted time, that's sure, it's the wilderness that you could be finding the insight that you can then will be using to transform your company, to transform your industry, to be creating entirely new industries.

Denis: (24:10)

At the same time, going back to the philosophy of science, there's a chap called Thomas Kuhn, who's taught quite a lot in philosophy courses. And he talks about when you're having a change in worldview, which fundamentally a business model is a business model. Innovation is a change of world where it's a change in the way that an industry or a market looks at how you make money in that industry. He talks about anomalies, which are things that can't really be explained by existing business models. It's a little bit difficult to translate it into business terms, but let me give you an example. So, in the taxi industry back 10, 15 years ago, everybody knew that there was a huge problem connecting drivers with passengers, but what were people doing about it? They weren't doing anything about it. They assumed that that problem was there forever.

Denis: (25:07)

And so you've got this huge anomaly stuck in the middle of the industry that nobody was addressing. It's the elephant in the room. And then Uber said, no, this is a problem. And we can go out and fix it. You've then got a very new business model that you can sort of then start exploiting. Google did something similar. So did Amazon, in fact, pretty much all of the major tech companies spotted an anomaly. Amazon's with, okay, we've got a bookshelf rather than the bookstore having only a limited amount of space. And these insights then create something very, very different. So what we're doing a lot of the time is we are looking for anomalies, things that don't make sense. And these are often things that people within the industry can't figure out. I was working with a Midwest law firm, selling trusts and wills, and to start with it was trying to figure out how do you sell this in a bit more of an interesting way.

Denis: (26:07)

And I'm telling you, lawyers have got no idea about marketing. Going through everybody in Illinois, sort of websites, and they basically said, we have a lawyer, we're a lawyer who takes your money. We are a lawyer, who's very good. That was their marketing spiel. But at the same time, they will be attacked by boilerplate providers of wills and trusts. And we only figured out what they are normally were, why your customers are male? Why didn't you get any women coming and buying wills and trusts? So, we've got the sales staff to go out and ask, why are you coming and buying wills and trusts? And the men said, my wife told me to, my wife wants me to. And that was actually, the men didn't want to buy it. They were being driven by the women. So why don't women want to do it?

Denis: (26:52)

And that was the anomaly for that particular customer. So, that one insight that anomaly then transforms how we think about that, the business model, and then that made it totally different. And so this is what you need to be looking for. It's partly ignore everything in your industry and just look for what is weird, look for what's magical, and ignore all the MBA stuff. And this is sometimes, it's a little bit difficult to sell, but there is always something out there that we do find. 

Christine: (27:22)

I really liked the fact that you were saying, okay, look for what's magical out there and look for what's weird. And don't just look at the obvious and go out there and explore and try to find those anomalies to kind of figure out, okay, how can you improve your business model and how can you improve your business in general? So that's a really nice example. And also like how this probably wasn't obvious to the law firm in the first place. And then you came in and now it seems so obvious to us, like when you say it. And it's always super inspiring to hear about the successes and the learnings that you just mentioned. And for us also interesting to hear it from our guests and see what impact they made in driving innovation forward. But at the same time, we're also interested in anything that perhaps didn't work out the way you imagined. Are there any mistakes you made along the way that you would like to share or anything that didn't work out the way you expected it in the first place?

Denis: (28:19)

I think pretty much every client, I make mistakes because literally, you're heading out into the wilderness. Is getting lost, is that success, is that a failure? Sometimes you need to be going out and getting lost. So, with clients, we will be coming up with lots and lots of hypotheses because essentially the business model canvas is a collection of hypotheses. These are claims that we're making about reality. That seemed to be true, given the information that we've got, but then often they don't, they just don't pan out. I'm just trying to think of a specific example. I'm working with a client at the moment who is rolling out 5G in the UK.

Denis: (29:04)

We had some feelings about, okay, if we can be able to make huge opportunities with, I think it was local councils and it's just like, those did not exist, but that's okay. You come back and you say, okay, that hypothesis failed. It doesn't matter. We've learned a little bit faster because it's so much better to have these failures early, because I mean, a few days of my time is reasonably expensive, but it's a lot less expensive than spending the 70 million or so that it costs an FMCG company to bring a new product or new innovation to market. So, we go out early, we test it, we see what happens. And then we reinforce success, which is the concept of the lean startup approach.

Christine: (29:49)

Yeah. I also liked the say, okay, you learn a lot faster by making those mistakes and then, learning from it and going on. So I really liked this, that you kind of focus on the learning approach and mistakes are part of the process and part of us improving in the right direction. So, now we're looking at the current situation we are in right now, with the pandemic still very much present at this point. Is COVID also perhaps somehow changing your processes or ways of working, or is it changing your client's perception of change or so on?

Denis: (30:26)

What we found out during, during COVID, and this was driven by working with the client in the Midwest, we were 12 hours apart. So it's an absolute nightmare to be playing, to be trying to get sessions together. We started doing this asynchronously, so he tells me something and I'd absorb it. And then I'd send over the latest iteration of the business model canvas. And with the hypothesis that we were playing about, as a 30, 40-minute video, he'd watch it at his leisure or read the transcript, start scribbling all over it, and it would come back.

Denis: (30:56)

So we were managing to get the best of both worlds for the company and that had worked very, very effectively for my clients. What I've seen, is that corporates generally are doing less business model innovation. So, I mean, I think I was reading something by BT, the British Telecoms company this morning. And they said that there's been 500 billion less spent on digital transformation over the last year due to COVID, which is a pretty huge amount. And very much when I've been looking at clients across the world, they're tending to say, okay, withdraw into themselves. Startups haven't protested at all to a large extent, they just want to go out and conquer the world. So, that's stayed pretty much the same. And for government-led organizations, they're more interested at a policy level, so okay, we've got to encourage more business model innovation. How do we do this? How does that happen? But then looking at the budget and the amount of money that is going into programs to support it, I'm not seeing that yet though. There may be over the next five or six months that will start to happen.

Christine: (32:06)

It's interesting to see how you're actually also, already realizing such a big difference in the companies that you're working with, like startups or large corporations, or also government institutions and so on. Interesting to see how different they also react to these changes. But let's also see how this evolves further in the future. And now I'm also looking at your future and with your job and the role that you're in. Is there anything you're especially looking forward to, or in general, anything that's next for you that you can share with us?

Denis: (32:41)

What's up next for me, I'm spending lots of time each week trying to put a lot of my thoughts on business model innovation down into a book. So, I'm there each week. I have a target of about 5,000 words I have to put into scrubbing. So, I feel like the first draft is got to be done by the 1st of August. And then towards the end of the year, I'm going to be sending it out to people to sort of start having comments and feedback and start a little bit of a reading group to do that. So, that should be out hopefully next year, if all goes to plan and it's going to be fitting in the space between a lot of the Alexandra Osterwalder, which tells you what to do, but they're all telling you how to do it, but not the what and the why.

Denis: (33:25)

So I'm looking much more into space where we're looking at the ideas, how do ideas change the world? How do you generate the ideas that are going to create companies that transform the world? How can you reliably be creating companies like Google or Amazon by spotting the anomalies, and then being able to exploit them rather than searches copying your competitors? We're lawyers, this is the way that we do, or we are the Uber for this or the Airbnb for that. I mean, it doesn't matter. I mean, if you look at the largest all companies, they've all got very similar business models. You look at telecom companies, they all got very similar business models. How do you find, create companies that are the only ones in their industry with that type of business model? That's what we're looking for because that is kind of creating all the wonderful jobs that we're going to need as we go forward because digital transformation is going to be taking so many jobs away from people through automation. So, we've got to be looking at new business models to be having a wonderful, interesting work life, as we go on towards the end of the century.

Christine: (34:34)

That's super interesting to hear what kind of plans you have for the near future. And, that also business model innovation continues to be relevant in the field as well. So, Denis, thank you so much for sharing your personal entrepreneurial journey with us and all the successes and mistakes along the way. And it's also really inspiring to hear how you drive change with business model innovation. It's been a real pleasure having you here, and I'm curious to see what the future holds for you as well. Thank you again.

Denis: (35:04)

Thank you, Christine. It's been wonderful talking to you. 

Christine: (35:08)

Thank you for listening to this episode of “Lost in Transformation”. If you enjoy our podcast, please subscribe to our channel and leave us a review on iTunes. Join us next time for another episode of our podcast.

Denis' way to entrepreneurship
Denis' previous ventures: Setting up a startup in the metal industry
The start of his journey with Business Model Innovation: Transforming his startup
Successful start of a Business Model Innovation consultancy
Methods and tools used by Denis to drive transformation for clients
The importance of being able to differentiate your business from competitors
Crucial final stage of validating and testing your ideas outside
Differences in approaching the change by different organizations
Explore magical and mystical ways to find insights off the beaten track
Spot anomalies to discover a new business model
Making mistakes while moving in the wilderness to find solutions for clients
How does Covid-19 affect organizational transformation and business model innovation?
What's next: A book on what and why to transform businesses