In the early part of 2009, I encountered the “Business Model Generation” Project during my research on the topic of “Infinite Shared Happiness.” I had become frustrated with disparate theories and tools for economic and business growth. Moreover, I felt that Adam Smith’s ‘Theory of the Invisible Hand’ significantly contributes to corporate greed and had led to the demise of the housing and financial markets here in the USA. I wanted to develop not only a simpler framework and model for Universal Strategic Planning, Innovation, and Performance Management but also a visual tool that would be based on the pursuit of Infinite Shared Happiness and in particular, Shared Value.


Startups – as always – experience a high rate of failure. Many scalable startups don’t have a roadmap or toolkit for growing in highly risky and competitive environments. Traditional tools such as business and strategic plans are complex and time-consuming to use in startup environments. Such tools, which are common in MBA courses, target corporations that have proven or validated business models as well as established functional departments.


How excited I was to discover the Business Model Generation (BMG) Project in 2009. Here was a community of diverse professionals from around the world collaborating in the creation of a book on business model innovation. The book’s main authors are Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. The community focused on commenting on book chapters as well as discussing tools for visualizing, documenting, and developing innovative business models. The core tool is the Business Model Canvas which presents 9 building blocks as elements of a business model. An attractive book that practices what it preaches, “Business Model Generation” was first published in 2009 and has become a bestseller.


Although the Business Model Canvas (BMC) is a great tool, I consider 9 building blocks as too many and detailed for a presentation that focuses on the “big picture” or “big vision” of a project. Such ‘visionary’ presentations are a must when presenting business projects especially to sponsors such as Venture Capitalists. In recent months, I developed the concept of the Business DNA Map which allows one to zoom out of and zoom in on a business model. The Business DNA Map facilitates dynamic viewing, scalable perspectives, and management of a business model. In the paradigm of the Business DNA Map, the Business Model Canvas is a Business Model Map at a Strategic Level of 50,000ft. What is missing is a Visionary Business Model Map at 100,000ft.


To illustrate a Visionary Business Model Map, I developed a Business Model Map which consists of 3 fundamental building blocks or “DNA:” Design; Needs; Aspirations. This Business DNA Map illustrates a Business Model Canvas at 100,000ft. The above presented example uses information from the Business Model Generation book and project. I’ve found a Visionary Business DNA Map to be extremely useful especially in quickly summarizing and presenting (“pitching”) business models. Moreover, the Business DNA Map can be presented in multiple formats while facilitating design thinking and performance management.


I’d be interested to hear your perspective on the Business DNA Map. And I’d be more than happy to hear your feedback after applying the Visionary Business DNA Map to your existing business as well as pet projects.


In the meantime,

best regards.



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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Rod,

Very interesting your post, it sounds very helpful.

Do you have any examples of the DNA Map done?

Last week I organized a workshop with 8 people to talk about Design Thinking an BMG, and develop some proposals of new business model for our company. The 8 people who participate were from different areas and some of then were guests from other companies.  But they all have something in common, it was the first time they heard about BMG, and they all find really hard to organize the ideas they generate during the design thinking process into the Canvas. They had many ideas about how to solve our costumers problems, but when they had to use this ideas to build a new business models they had a lot of trouble.

The final result was great, but maybe your tool can help me when teach people how to build a new business model.




Thanks for your comment. There's a comprehensive example of applying the DNA Map to the Business Model Generation (BMG) in a document that you could freely view/download from the following weblink:


If you have further questions or comments, just let me know. Please note that the DNA Map can also be presented and completed like as a DNA list or outline; see below. I'll suggest that you begin with the Visionary DNA Map (LIst) which consists of just 3 topics:


Visionary DNA Map (List) for Business's Product/Service


A: Aspirations (Why?) -> Vision/Shared Value (Proposition) 

N: Needs (What?) -> Customer Segment; Problem/Challenge/Need

D: Design (How?) -> Product/Service


It is best to arrange the DNA block so that it reads "A-N-D" from top to bottom. The reason is that the "end" is described at the upper level while the "means" is at a lower level.


If we are looking at Apple's iPod (see, for example, page 46 of Alex Osterwalder's "Business Model Generation" book), the DNA Map (List) will be as follows:


Visionary DNA Map (List) for APPLE'S iPod


A: Aspirations (Why?) -> Seamless Music Experience

N: Needs (What?) -> Mass Market; Eliminate Big and Clunky Digital Music Players

D: Design (How?) -> iPod/iTunes


The above list can be described as the Minimum Viable Story for Apple's iPod as it presents the minimum details that can be used to tell the story about the iPod's business model. As with any outline, each of the DNA Block can be expanded to tell a more detailed story such as when using the 9 topics of the Business Model Canvas. Please note that the 3 DNA Blocks are related to the 9 topics of the Business Model Canvas as follows:


Visionary DNA Map (List) for Business's Product/Service


A: Aspirations (Why?)

    - Value Proposition

    - Revenue Stream

    - Cost Structure

N: Needs (What?)

    - Customer Relationships

    - Channels

    - Customer Segments

D: Design (How?)

    - Key Suppliers

    - Key Resources

    - Key Activities


More information on the DNA Map could be found in the above weblink and our Group in this website. Neverthess, shoud you have further comments or questions, pleas let me know.






P.S.: For faster organization and management of ideas in a group, I'd suggest that you explore using the Business DNA Dashboard.



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