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Guest Thinkers

“White Spaces” and Business Model Innovation

As businesses begin to emerge from the financial downturn of 2008-2009, attention has already started to focus on successful growth and innovation strategies for the next 12 months. For CEOs and other senior executives looking for a practical framework for business model innovation, Mark Johnson has written Seizing the White Space: Business Model Innovation for Growth and Renewal. Johnson, the co-founder and CEO of strategic innovation consulting company Innosight, has organized his new book around a deceptively simple premise: overhauling a business model needs to be more than just throwing some spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.

Instead, a business needs a proven methodology to find the “white spaces” — the uncharted territory well beyond a company’s core business. This is harder than it sounds, since any business or organization is almost forced into small, incremental moves rather than bold, disruptive moves by the very nature of how most people define “risk.”

In the book, Johnson points to a number of businesses that have managed to grow their way to success by re-evaluating what they do and how they do it: Tata Motors, Dell, Southwest Airlines, Apple. And, of course, there’s the example of IKEA, which decided to sell furniture the same way other people sell clothing. The book also includes a foreword from A.G. Lafley, who mentions a few ways that P&G has used ideas about business “white spaces” to venture beyond mere brand extensions into entirely new categories.

During the week of May 3, check out the book’s website for a virtual Blogger Book Tour hosted by top innovation bloggers Andrea Meyer, Braden Kelley and Jeffrey Phillips.


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