مدل های کسب و کار چه کاری انجام می دهند : دستگاه های نوآوری در کارآفرینی فن آوری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|7663||2009||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||12490 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 38, Issue 10, December 2009, Pages 1559–1570
Building on a case study of an entrepreneurial venture, we investigate the role played by business models in the innovation process. Rather than debating their accuracy and efficiency, we adopt a pragmatic approach to business models — we examine them as market devices, focusing on their materiality, use and dynamics. Taking into account the variety of its forms, which range from corporate presentations to business plans, we show that the business model is a narrative and calculative device that allows entrepreneurs to explore a market and plays a performative role by contributing to the construction of the techno-economic network of an innovation.
Open innovation (Chesbrough, 2003) involves various protagonists who contribute to its funding, generation and commercialization, and it is located in networks rather than in individual firms (Powell et al., 1996). Such techno-economic networks (Callon, 1991) are composed of heterogeneous actors: big firms, entrepreneurs, universities, customers, investors, regulators and the intermediaries that circulate among them. The distributed nature of innovation calls for new modes of coordination and management devices, such as platforms (Robinson et al., 2007). What these devices are and how they manage the tensions inherent in collective innovation are crucial, yet under-researched issues. In this paper, we focus on a specific device that is pervasive in entrepreneurship and that, we contend, embodies the uncertain and distributed nature of innovation: the business model. Business models are strange entities. On the one hand, since the dotcom explosion and subsequent burst in the 2000s, business models have populated the economic world in an increasingly expansive manner. On the other hand, there is growing scepticism about them being sound depictions of the future prospects of enterprises. Are they operational tools that rationally inform investment decisions in a judicious way? Or are they rituals that fulfil, at best, some symbolic function but lack a genuine economic meaning? What purposes do they serve, if any? These and similar questions about the use, meaning and rationale of business models have been raised in the management literature in recent decades (Baker et al., 1993, Honig and Karlsson, 2004 and Magretta, 2002). For instance, in an influential article Porter (2001, p. 73) criticized the “fuzziness” of the business model that he defined as “an invitation for faulty thinking and self–delusion” to blame for the failure of many e-businesses. The dotcom bubble and its aftermath did, somehow, put an end to the interest of management scholars in the business model as a management tool; yet did not halt its use by practitioners. Indeed, it proliferates in daily practices, especially in technology entrepreneurship (Chesbrough and Rosenbloom, 2002 and Delmar and Shane, 2003). Puzzlement may arise from the fact that, whilst cogent analysis from management science tends to debunk the calculative power of the business model, investors and entrepreneurs continue to consider it a key ingredient of their economic endeavours. In this article, we show that business models can be fruitfully analyzed as “market devices” (Callon et al., 2007) — one among the many intermediaries that circulate in the techno-economic networks of innovation. If business models appear to be torn between usefulness and uselessness, it is perhaps because of a failure in the way scholars account for their use and operations. What do business models really do? In order to make sense of this question, we have chosen to depart from a perspective that would consider these artefacts to be transparent vehicles of the representation and appraisal of an entrepreneurial project. Symmetrically, we have avoided a position that would consider their widespread empirical use a symptom of a collective preference for opaqueness. Instead, we examine business models as intelligent collective devices in contexts of uncertainty. Our approach is pragmatic. It is opposed to an essentialist view, which considers the business model as a more or less faithful description of an objective reality beyond it, as well as to an instrumental analysis, which defines ex ante functions of the business model and measures its performance relative to them. Our main argument is that the business model works as both a calculative and a narrative device. It allows entrepreneurs to explore a market and to bring their innovation – a new product, a new venture and the network that supports it – into existence. The business model’s function cannot be limited to a reflexive exercise enhancing the rationality of the entrepreneur who is writing a PowerPoint presentation or a business plan. The narrative and the calculation that it performs are indeed addressed to third parties, such as customers or investors. Moving around various actors and coordinating their action, the business model appears to act as a boundary object (Star and Griesemer, 1989). We therefore consider the business model “in action” (Latour, 1987) and follow its trajectory. We argue that the flexible mix of narratives and calculations within the business model enables it to circulate across heterogeneous actors, which, in turn, endows it with a performative role: by circulating, it gradually builds the network of the new venture that it represents. In this paper, then, we investigate the role of business models through the case study of a new venture. Combining interviews with the analysis of internal and publicly available corporate documents and presentations, we identify the specificities of the business model as a market device that, as we argue, enable the management of the tensions inherent to the entrepreneurial process. The first section of this paper is devoted to a review of three different approaches to business models: the essentialist and the functionalist views that prevail in the extant literature, and the pragmatic stance that we propose here, building on the recent stream of research on market devices. After a presentation of our methodology, we study the case of a French entrepreneurial venture by analyzing different documents that describe its business model and by following their circulation in space and time. We show that the narrative and calculative techniques implemented in these documents enable the business model to act as a boundary object and to manage the tension between framing and overflowing (Callon, 1998a) inherent to the explorative nature of entrepreneurship. We then discuss the conditions of possibility and implications of business models acting as boundary objects. The paper closes with some reflexions on the performative roles of business models.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The word model is polysemous. A model may be a “schematic description of a system, theory, or phenomenon”; a “small object, usually built to scale, that represents in detail another, often larger object”; or, it can be something or someone “serving as an example to be imitated or compared”.16 This polysemy is relevant to business models which have been examined in the literature as simplified descriptions of a company and have been evaluated according to their truthfulness. In this paper, we depart from this essentialist view of business models and examine them as market devices by investigating their roles in the practice of entrepreneurship. Such an approach leads us to emphasize the second meaning of the word model: we consider the business model as a material object, as a scale model of the new venture, instead of treating it as a more or less faithful description of a reality beyond itself. Models are not pure abstractions. They have an existence as paper tools, diagrams or material objects (Morgan, 2001); they enable manipulation and experimentation (Maki, 2005). In architecture for example, the purpose of scale models is not merely to “visualize invisible substances”, but to “gather a number of things – human and non-human actors, and their concerns, requirements and disputes – and to ‘accommodate’ them into objects that can be subjected to design experiments” (Yaneva, 2005, p. 872). As scale models are presented to actors whose engagement needs to be secured for the process of innovation to succeed (e.g. resource providers, future customers or regulators), they are caught in a dynamics of trials, that is to say, they are not passive representations, but contribute to the emergence of a new entity (e.g. a new building). Rather than a description, a scale model is a demonstration, “situated on the crossroads of a probationary approach (…) and of ostentatious conduct” (Rosental, 2007, p. 35). Like demonstrations, business models aim at providing evidence for the feasibility of an innovative project and at gaining the interest of third parties by mobilising the repertoires of both proof and persuasion, and the logic and rhetoric elements that they include. In this perspective, understanding what business models do requires considering not only the object that they represent (a new venture), but also the audience, for which this object is made visible and put into words, and which is “constructed contemporaneously with the demonstration” (Callon, 2004, p. 123). Business models are performances (Stark and Paravel, 2008) — encounters in which an entity is materialized in a particular form (often a PowerPoint presentation) and displayed, exhibited to an audience. They are also relational tools (Rosental, 2007, p. 73), for they enable such encounters and thus a mutual adjustment between the artefact that is being demonstrated and the public to which the demonstration is offered. Approaching business models as demonstrations instead of as descriptions allows us to go beyond the debate on their truthfulness and usefulness. In our view, the business model is a scale model of a new venture, which aims at demonstrating its feasibility and worth to the partners whose enrolment is needed. The scale model is built for the purpose of producing encounters, in which it is performed by its inscription in a document and its display to an audience. The collective involved in the performance – the entrepreneurs, their business model, their potential partners – is shaped through these encounters. As a demonstration, the business model is performative, for it constructs both the object and the public of the demonstration: the new venture and its network. In the process of making the demonstration, it enlists the actors that make the new venture’s worth possible. If it represents a new reality, it is because it is a “spokesperson” (Akrich et al., 2002) thereof, and a tool for building it. Indeed, the market creation path of the entrepreneurial team can be described as a series of trials, which consist of encounters with partners whose “interessement” (Akrich et al., 2002) and enrolment are sought. Be they successful or not, these encounters lead to the transformation of the network being built by the entrepreneur’s innovation. When partners are not interested, the entrepreneurs cannot pursue their framing endeavour with the current business model. When partners get interested that they add to the network of the innovation results in its reconfiguration: some links have to be cut so that others can be created. Any change in the “sociogram” of the innovation entails a change in its “technogram”, and vice versa (Latour, 1987). Encountering and enrolling partners is not a smooth process: each encounter puts the entrepreneur’s business model to a test and may lead to costly changes in the technology and in the entrepreneur’s alliances. If the business model resists, the associations that it builds gain in solidity and the business model becomes more and more real (Latour, 1987 and Latour, 1988). This process gradually transforms the business model from a model into a business. The circulation of business models is not restricted to the network of a single venture. When it moves from one venture to another, the business model becomes an example to be imitated or compared. When crafting their venture, entrepreneurs do not start from scratch. They “look for what [exists]” – for “it is difficult to innovate both technologically and in the business model” – and they define their business model with reference to existing ones, just as Robert explained whilst depicting Koala’s business model as “à la Oracle”. The business model thus becomes part of a repertoire from which entrepreneurs can draw. It is performative in the sense that it shapes not only the specific new venture that it represents, but also, through the process of replication, business models and new ventures to come. As a result of their circulation, some business models become working examples, or “templates” (Baden-Fuller and Winter, 200717), which support imitation, or at least comparison, by entrepreneurs, investors, customers or partners, and thus serve as inputs of the calculations involved in a venture-specific business model. Such paradigmatic business models can be found as stylized descriptions in press articles or books on successful ventures. They are also codified in books addressed to practitioners, which describe the method that an entrepreneur should follow to write her business model, and in the business plan templates available on the websites of venture capital firms, which those seeking financial support should use in order to be considered. The implementers of public policies fostering entrepreneurship, who work in incubators, technology transfer offices or science-industry parks, are also involved in the production of business plan templates and “methodologies for business modelling”.18 We believe that our analysis of business models contributes to a better understanding of their function in the process of entrepreneurship, in which they are ubiquitous. Devices for collective exploration, business models play a performative role: as demonstrations, they involve a performance in which a narrative and a calculation are presented to a public; as scale models, they perform new entities by gradually bringing them into existence; as templates, they call for imitation and thus shape future ventures.