MER501: The need to identify “paying customer” and the practice of “customer-centric business model innovations”.


A) Overview

You will participate in the business model innovation (BMI) forums on LMS (10%), emphasizing discussions on “lean start-ups” and design thinking. This phase in the business model innovation emphasizes the desirability-viability criteria.

The need to identify “paying customer” and the practice of “customer-centric business model innovations”. Hence this individual forum summary (20%) “simulates”, “reconstructs” and “re-enacts” the thinking process of formulating a business model for a hypothetical new venture. In these aspect, new venture lessons are equally applicable to intrapreneurship or existing mature businesses.

Video Recording of Individual Presentation & Pitch Deck Slides

A) Overview

Entrepreneurs are often advised to look outside the boundaries of the business model canvas to test their “theories”, and to validate their value proposition to generate buy-in. Entrepreneurs are also by definition myth-debunkers.

You may have benefited from insights and discussions concerning some of these myths in the forum discussions on LMS. This presentation is an assessment of how you would pitch for funding for your hypothesized venture. Though aspects of the pitch deck resembles a conventional business plan, it is less detailed. A good template to use has been provided by Peter Thiel with guiding commentaries by Alejandro Cremades.

Because of its skew towards funding it is important to convey how revenue traction and product-market fit are related but distinct ideas.

Be careful not to structure this deck as a typical business plan. Samples of pitch decks and templates can also be found on the Web.

Case Special Project: Business Model Formulation: Strategy & Execution Planning

A) Overview

In this assignment you are required to test the assumptions underlying the business model formulated in the pitch deck and the presentation. The emphasis is on testing, implementation and execution. Much of the hypothesized venture’s viability and feasibility depends on how you define your core and ensure a fit to society’s expectations. Consider the context of Pandemics, that are now slowly being reclassified as endemic in various societies.

Many ventures are also digital in nature. How does technological developments impact upon its success? This does not mean a PEST analysis should be conducted. In fact, a venture is a series of “experiments”, incorporating certain methodologies and metrics to test alignment of the business model to the core value and mission expectations of stakeholders.

Ethical leadership should inform whether to “pivot, persevere or perish”, translating customer/product insights into actionable business solutions. The finer details surrounding this hypothesis-driven entrepreneurship is encapsulated in Bill Aulet’s (2013, 2017) “Disciplined Entrepreneurship”.