Business Models

The concept of Business Model has achieved wide currency in business and policy discourse. Every firm has to have one – particularly in the new economy. However there is little consensus in organisation studies and economics about how to define a business model. Indeed the concept conflates multiple contradictory elements. Is it a representation of external business practice or a guide for business practice. Does it describe the strategy of a firm for valorising certain resources, its infrastructure for delivering services or the insertion of a firm into a broader environment?

In the digital economy – especially the creative industries – we see a pattern of continued and arguably accelerating change in services, markets, technologies. The ‘dominant’ solutions of a few years ago are called into question by subsequent developments. Individual players confront profound uncertainties about the surrounding players in the ecosystem – and especially about the responses of ‘customers’.

This turbulent context presents difficulties in achieving the kinds of calculation that might be presupposed in the idea of designing business model for the new economy, not least in terms of the lack of reliable information from which to extrapolate. How can researchers engage with these dynamic settings?

This panel presented a range of CREATe projects investigating changing business models, including digital publishing, independent film/TV producers, and blockchain technology in music. In response, Charles Baden-Fuller from Cass Business School offered an initial analysis of these trends.

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