Kodak, once a market leader and color film pioneer, is now a major digitization loser, outpaced by digital and cellphone photography. The problem was that the company sought for too long to defend its old, previously successful business model and missed out on the future as a consequence. Many companies today are in the same position as Kodak. Instead of investing in their future and re-inventing themselves they rely on what they believed to be a surefire success and hang onto memories.
The NIT Northern Institute of Technology Management offers workshops in which entrepreneurs learn how to open up new lines of business – and not to rely on their previous models for success. On the Hamburg University of Technology campus in Harburg the NIT has developed into a thought leader in the field of digitization. “I meet many entrepreneurs who feel unable to make decisions. They know they must adjust their business models but they don’t know how to go about it. Many find it very hard to part with and rethink their previous business models,” says NIT CEO Verena Fritzsche.
Yet alternatives do exist. The NIT’s Agile Business Model Innovations workshop is aimed at anyone who wants to develop ideas for new products and services playfully. The workshop’s trainer is Professor Christoph Ihl, head of the Entrepreneurship Institute at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Using brightly colored Post-it notes, Lego bricks and writable walls, the NIT’s Design Thinking Space invites you to be creative and to have fun. But much more is involved when initial disconnected thoughts lead to new business ideas that are hailed, questioned and/or discarded again. That, at the latest, is when many business leaders realize that alternatives do exist!
With the aid of agile innovation methods entrepreneurs can better satisfy the needs of their customers, update their business model and implement new business ideas. During the workshop, participants draw up specific measures that they put to use directly at their companies. In order to work innovatively, the executives call traditional rules into question at all levels of the company. The aim is to keep moving, to adjust to digital opportunities in good time and to stay a step ahead of the competition.