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March 26, 2011


Review: Business Model Generation

by brainoids

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cartoonish packaging and presentation of this book shouldn’t dissuade prospective readers, there actually is some meat. BMG’s slug ambitiously reads, “You’re holding a handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises…” While this is a little of a breathless oversell, BMG contains good tools to work with.

Business Model GenerationIts primary offering is a very useful “Business Model Canvas” which can be used with organizations to help map out their existing (or planned) models, and from which brainstorming and tweaking can proceed. Working in the public sector, I’m most intrigued by this tool and its value in working with teams and managers who are more used to budget-driven management; BMG’s canvas can provide a simple and tractable way to help them think about other ways to think about resource flow and achieving their objectives.

Unfortunately BMG’s offering peaks with the Canvas itself, in the first third of the book. The remaining two thirds present simplistic and superficial treatments of tools to facilitate brainstorming, creative discussion, etc, as well as summaries of some nonconventional business models that have evolved over the last decade or two. There’s nothing really wrong with either of these, other than that anyone interested in the book have probably already been exposed to most of this subsequent content, and the treatment is usually too superficial to add much new value. Harmless, but can easily be skipped.

The authors (all 470 of them) deserve props for their creative approach towards the content, design, and delivery. The book is well worth the money and time investment to explore what it has to offer. Just keep your expectations limited…

View all my reviews


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