Business Case Studies, Executive Interviews, Dr. Bolko V Oetinger on Business Model Innovation

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Executive Interviews: Interview with Dr. Bolko V Oetinger on Business Model Innovation
April 2009 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary

Dr. Bolko V Oetinger
Senior Advisor, The Boston Consulting Group.

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  • Is there any difference between business model creation for a small company and a larger company? For instance, in the US, there are approximately 25 million small business owners, who create about 70% of all jobs in the country. Some of them go on to become listed companies and also increase their scale and scope of operations. Many others remain for years as they were. Is this difference anything to do with the business model creation and execution?

    Different sizes could have very different reasons, I would be very careful not to take one variable (the business model) explaining everything.

  • What is the role of leadership and what should be the leadership initiative in creating/ innovating business models?

    The biggest problemis the behavior of most of the leaders; they do not respect critical discourse, they do not like critical questions, they do not reward questions that provoke. They like answers that fit the existing belief structure and some base conformity. You need to have a smart radar screen and very engaged people sitting in front of these screens filtering the relevant weak signals from your environment; otherwise you are lost “in space”!

  • No business school in the world offers a course on business models. Do you think it’s time to articulate an exclusive course on business models? After all, a wholesome and holistic understanding of creating a business model might open a window to all the other courses?

    I doubt if your assertion is right, that “No business school in the world offers a course on business models”. I would be surprised, because you cannot talk about strategy without talking about business models. Assuming you were right, you should not waste any minute to design such a course.

  • The world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis created by a few greedy investment bankers. The effects of this crisis are quite pronouncing. How important is it to innovate business models in these troubled times?Are there any best practices that the companies can emulate?

    Bad times are always easier times to do something important differently. Think about the consumer in the crisis; he or she will spend definitely less, save more (if possible), stay rather liquid and flexible, and will engage in larger investments only step-by-step, at least for the next two years. But the same consumer loves houses, cars, clothes, travel, etc... Can we offer him pleasure and excitement with “less”? The “bottom of the pyramid” business models might teach us something what the “top of the pyramid” might use to improve its business. Are there other business models around than the global supply chain structure where every T-Shirt needs to travel thousands of miles. Are there regional/local business models? The same consumer might think differently on what is essential for him. Maybe not a house bigger than his neighbor’s house, maybe community and social values will come back; will we see more “sharing” ideas? The consumer is angry about the fortunes he or she lost through greedy bankers, not functioning regulatory agencies, and a FED induced bubble. “Trust” might be in demand, whose brand could provide us with “trust”? As bad as the times we are in, there are new chances coming up for new business models. The human mind is too creative!

The interview was conducted by Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary, Consulting Editor, Effective Executive and Dean, IBSCDC, Hyderabad.

This interview was originally published in Effective Executive, IUP, April 2009.

Copyright © April 2009, IBSCDC No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced or distributed, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or medium – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without the permission of IBSCDC.

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