What do breakfast, business innovation and university research have in common?

It’s been just over a week since the last Gaitherin at Tontine but what a great session it was to round off this year’s series. Fogging to kill hospital bugs, energy from biomass, new expertise to solve cancer challenges; we had it all.

The first key note of the day was delivered by Dr Stephan von Delft from the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow. Stephan introduced the audience to a hot topic in management thinking these days: business model innovation. Business model innovation refers to a fundamental change of how firms “do business”. In his presentation, Stephan explained that the decision to fundamentally change a key element of an existing business model has consequences not only for how the elements of a business model fit together but also for a firm’s culture and its position in the value chain. While firms like Airbnb, Dow Corning and Uber have successfully challenged established industries with innovative business models, business model innovation is far from easy. Stephan argued that the landscape of failed attempts at business model innovation is crowded because the nature of business model innovation is poorly understood in most companies. From his research, he identified three reasons for this: (1) Executives don’t really want it, (2) Lack of understanding how it works, and (3) Knowing when it is not the right thing (and time) to do.

Stephan was followed by his collaboration partner, Neil Campbell, Managing Director of Glasgow-based CCRS Brokers Ltd. Neil works together with Stephan in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity – to successfully discover and implement a business model innovation in the insurance sector. In his presentation, Neil introduced the audience to the rationale behind CCRS entering a KTP with the Adam Smith Business School and emphasized the important role for bringing in fresh thinking, new knowledge and other resources into the company to design a winning business model innovation. Neil also introduced the audience to the process of getting a KTP and benefits from this KTP such as learning about mechanism to deliver a new business model or new skills transferred and embedded into the business.

The Gaitherin will be back in the Autumn with a new series of sessions for Glasgow’s innovators, researchers, and entrepreneurs; keep an eye on their feeds for details!

Tontine: @tontineglasgow
University of Glasgow: @UofGlasgow 

Dr Stephan von Delft