I wrote a post last year titled “Failure is not an option” where I have commented that I was asked to develop a format to deliver Digital Business Models (DBM)  projects applying the research (The new world of digital business models ) of my colleagues from Services Innovation and the Innovation Center Network. I want to share know what happened during the process of creating and testing a new method.


The SAP Marketing Team from Latin America North organizes each year the “CIO Summit” event in the beautiful colonial city of Cartagena de Indias where I had run a session about Innovation Management on 2014,  and they invited me again for the last year version. But the invitation had a condition, I had to bring there something really special.


No innovation happen without some level of risk, so when the idea came to my mind to use for the first time the Digital Business Model approach there, I embraced it with enthusiasm. If the approach were to work with executives from different companies, without any background preparation and in a very short time, I would be a good test form more traditional set ups.


The solution was to deliver the workshop using the compressed Context, Ideation, Prototype cycle. For the context section we asked them to fill the Business Model Canvas of a typical IT department. Then we used the Digital Modeling Cards for the ideation, focusing on the right side (value creation) of the canvas. And the final prototype was an improved and stronger BMC of the IT department after embracing the digitalization wave.


The results were excellent and the participants have enjoyed the experience, with many asking for engaging with us about the method. But reflecting on the situation now, I think is more impressive that we were working in on old chapel within a former abbey armed just with paper and pens and they were able to create in a couple of hours very compelling digitalization plans. The contrast between analog and digital worlds couldn’t be bigger.


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Other learning form this workshop was that the Digital Business Models framework is so well structured and the accelerators so practical, that professionals can create sophisticated digitalization strategies even without sharing in advance the framework. The positive result gave me the confidence that we were ready for the next step, which means leveraging the DBM approach in a consulting engagement. Stay tune for the news about what happened next when solving a specific customer challenge with the Digital Business Modelling tools.

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  1. Vijaya Bhaskar A

    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. Did you notice anything special while using Business Model Canvas for Digital Business Models? Is there any place where participants had to be given more explaination or more inputs because we are talking Digital – especially if the audience are having difficulty in identifying the boundaries of “Digital” ?

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    1. Alejandro Pifarre Post author

      The method worked quite well. One of the major advantages of using the Digital Modelling Cards is that participants do not have to understand the Digitalization concept in order to create digital options.

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