LIFT11 Re-organisation: new workplaces, new business models, social organisations

Speaker notes:

Alexander Osterwalder, The new business models.

Is going to talk about the process of creating new business models today.

Building cars is very different to creating new business models – cars are tested exhaustively before they are released to the public. Companies test themsleves by being launched on the public.

Alex Osterwalder

Alex Osterwalder

“Most business  plans don’t survive the first contact with a customer” Steve Blank

What can we learn from car design to improve this process?

Car Design Process: Sketches => Prototypes => Simulation

To apply process like car design, you need to model businesses. Lausanne University model has 9 elements.

  • Value proposition
  • Customer segments
  • Channels
  • Customer relationships
  • Revenue streams
  • Key resources
  • Key activities
  • Key partners
  • Cost structure

Alex uses the example of Jigar Shah founder of SunEdison who turned solar industry on its head off the back of a business school idea.

“A renowned visionary committed to renewable energy, Jigar Shah launched SunEdison in 2003 based upon a business plan he developed in 1999 for a university class. That plan became the basis of the SunEdison business model: Simplify solar as a service. This model changed the status quo, allowing organizations to purchase solar energy services under long-term predictably priced contracts and avoid the significant capital costs of ownership and operation of solar energy systems. Under Shah’s guidance, SunEdison pioneered the solar power services agreement (SPSA) model, which has turned solar services into a multi-billion dollar industry. SunEdison now has more solar energy systems and megawatts under management than any other company.” Carbon War Room website.

Here is one of Alex’s previous presentations which gives a great overview of his thinking.

A GREAT talk but would have been good to have more time to explore it further.

Key take away for me: When you think about your business, structure it in terms of the 9 points and then use masses of Post It notes to help you think about how you can change it.

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Dorian Selz, Virtual Organizations – how to run them and not make the same mistakes that he did…

Dorian started by taking this picture. Always good to see a presenter jam effortlessly while the technology fails!

View from on stage at Lift11, incl. Rorbert Scoble (Center)

Start with a simple plan.

  • Complex plans are worthless. No one can understand them.

Don’t have command and control structure. You need a few commonly shared values.

  • User first always
  • Great team = great people
  • Solution is the team
  • Long termisim over short termism
  • Count time in months not years
  • We are optimistic
  • Creativity and communication are key
  • Errors are OK if…
  • You’re getting things done
  • Be nice!

Do away with project managers.

  • They do more harm than good. Business people talk to business people. Techies talk to techies. Project managers mean that business people and techies revert to type then fight for resource.

Abandon process

  • Set goals and get out of the way
  • Leaders role is to do whatever you can to get things done.

Kill Microsoft Office

  • Go for Wikis. Everyone is forced to be on the same page until worying about specification and which document is the valid one.

Different approaches and locations are a plus

  • But, bring people together at the start

Abandon meetings

  • Mnemonic has very few meetings, but make people communicate online all the time.

Office politics

  • Encourage the destruction of political solutions
  • Create spaces and opportunities for real debate
  • Bring people together to discuss, drink, share ideas and bond

Respect suppliers

  • You can challenge them more if you do
  • made all company info except personnel records available to suppliers


  • Loosely coupled organisations will give you a better life!

Really smart guy who presented really well. Check out his blog: