Harvard Business Press
February 22, 2010
From Apple to Zara, stories of famous business model innovations are inspirational – but not very instructive. We know that successful innovators take risks and pursue underserved markets. But how – beyond luck, serendipity, or even genius – do they actually do it?
Strategy expert Mark W. Johnson argues that breakthrough business models result from forays into the “whitespace”: uncharted territory well beyond a company’s core business. But the reason so few companies successfully seize their white space is not because it is uncharted. It’s because they try to navigate it using their existing business model – without a clear understanding of how that model works.
In Seizing the White Space, Johnson introduces a practical framework that outlines the four components of every successful business model – a compelling customer value proposition (CVP), a winning profit formula, and key resources and processes – and shows how they interrelate to create value for both the customer and the company. Drawing on field-tested research, Johnson then explores three promising white space arenas: transforming existing markets, creating new markets, and confronting industrywide upheaval.
From a wealth of detailed case studies – including Dow Corning, Whole Foods Market, Hilty, Hindustan Unilever, and Tata Motors – Johnson has formulated a structured, repeatable process for spotting new growth opportunities and designing innovative new business models to support them:
- Identify an important, unmet job a real customer needs to get done
- Brainstorm financial scenarios and devise a new profit formula
- Identify and creatively integrate critical resources and processes to create competitive advantage
- Use controlled experimentation to test and refine your new model
- Navigate managerial challenges as you scale the new business
Authoritative and practical, Seizing the White Space gives you a language and a framework for understanding both the core space of your existing enterprise in the white space you hope to seize.
Mark W. Johnson is cofounder and Chairman of Innosight, a strategic innovation consulting and investment company with offices in Massachusetts, Singapore, and India. He has consulted to Global 1,000 and start-up companies in the range of industries.