Today I spent a couple of hours brainstorming on what this book shall be all about. Not the content, but the look & feel of the content of the book. It will help give the book design a direction. It will help give Alan, the design mind behind the book, some guidance to unfold his design talent to bring this book to another level. Based on a couple of dozen post-its I came up with a brand personas (first try by a non-branding person)

Her the outcome (which is not supposed to be "poetic" ;-)...

1. The book's form

Our book is beautiful. It feels great to hold in our hands. It is a very visual book, but the visuals all fulfill a function, they are not there for the sake of being visual. Our book focuses on the essential and puts clarity over all. The book is full of breathing space and is not too packed. Quotes and images spanning double pages inspire us when we look at the book and trigger our imagination.

2. Emotions the book reflects

The book is about enthusiasm for innovation, about aspiration and entrepreneurial spirit. It is about inspiration and desire to change. However, it is also about the struggle of change, about the obstacles that have to be overcome. To some extent the book also reflects the flip side of the coin: The incumbent's fear of new insurgents, his fear of new competitors and start-ups coming from nowhere. These two extremes reflect the dichotomy of creative destruction and reconstruction à la Schumpeter.

3. The targeted outcome

The book helps create viable strategic options regarding alternative business models. It fosters differentiation and growth in start-ups and established companies. The book has an impact on the way people look at and manage business models.
The book's aspiration The book is a success. It is a great manual and guide and has established itself as the reference book for business models. The book has really become a toolkit for entrepreneurs and managers.

4. The content

The book describes an approach and a shared language to manage business models. It gives entrepreneurs and managers a structured way to work with business models. It is full of examples, stories, workshop exercises and insights from the Hub.

5. Attributes of the content
The content is crystal clear, it is relevant and applicable. The reader can use the content in his work, because we designed the content in a "customer-centric" way.

6. The book reflects a certain way of working

This book stands for "serious play". The book reflects the creative process, it is about visual thinking, design thinking and co-creation. It represents an iterative rather than linear way of working. It is stands for multi-disciplinary teams throughout hierarchies. It's flagship tool is the post-it. The book is about experimentation, trial & error an prototyping. It is about fun. In a nutshell: it is about new ways of creating strategy.

7. The book project

The book was created in a guerrilla manner, emerging out of the success of a blog. The approach itself is built on openness and the content of the book was co-created with members from around the world on the Hub. The book was an insurgent to the "established" ways of creating and marketing management books... The book spread in a viral way, just like the approach before...

8. Challenges for the book

The book has to inspire confidence and trust, while cracking the fundamentals of established ways of working that are not functional anymore. It has to impose itself in a sea of management books that appear every year. It has to rely on the power of its difference and robustness of its content to spread like a virus, because it cannot rely on the distribution power of a big publishing house. In a nutshell: IT HAS TO STAND OUT AND BE OUTSTANDING (holy cow... what a challenge... a bit crazy).


If the book were a person this is who it would be (it's just a first try...):

Rashmi is a beautiful, slightly exotic woman. Her beauty stems from her naturalness, from her aura. Nothing is exaggerated, it just seems right. It is easy to connect with Rashmi and one immediately finds something to talk about with her. She is approachable.

In her work life Rashmi focuses on the essentials, she doesn't like to lose time when it's not necessary. But Rashmi likes to experiment. She likes to try out new things and she's successful with it. This combination of focus and experimentation is what her colleagues admire in her. They like to work on projects with her, they like to consult her. But working with Rashmi is challenging, because it questions the roots of established ways of working. She likes to go into new unexplored directions, taking controlled risk, experimenting...

In her private life Rashmi likes to read and travel. She wants to expand, she is restless. Standing still means not to advance. Exploring other countries, other cultures, other people's perspectives help Rashmi to grow. It is the source of her creativity. Rashmi's network of friends spans the globe and she manages not to lose connection. Her house regularly hosts friends from the four corners of the world...

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Comment by John Sutherland on March 25, 2009 at 7:05pm
I like waht you've attempted by describing a character, Rashmi. I believe that is a more context rish way to describe teh book so Alan can design better.

Now let me give you my instinct. Way way over the top.

We are always in love with our own children and with over 308 parents there is lots of love going on.

What about a humble (simple) approach. The book is about going where the future is.


Comment by NOEL BARRY on March 18, 2009 at 8:53pm
Alex your comments under 6, I have seen expressed as wicked thinking as opposed to waterfall thinking where waterfall thinking would be the systematic way an engineer might approach a problem and wicked thinking might include proposing possible solutions and then finding your way back.
On the visual thinking theme my feeling is that it is great for the look and feel of the book but there needs to be a balance between artistic style visualizations and matrix diagrams or we may end up with a universe of business model innovators who are all fine or graphic artists and the rest of us poor souls without artistic talent,who may have something to contribute, will feel progressively marginalized.
Comment by Nicolas De Santis on March 3, 2009 at 2:14pm
Alex/Alan I like The New school with a touch of the drawing board...good job! Nicolas
Comment by Alex Osterwalder on February 22, 2009 at 9:32am
Comment by Alan Smith on February 22, 2009 at 2:03am
I'll blogpost these as well so we can have a thread to discuss them all, but here's quicklinks to moodboards representing different aspects of the elements described above. I've also added a strategic dimension that tracks where these approaches lie in the competitive landscape of business books out there. Safe, Medium, & Risky.

Contemporary, Conservative, Clarity.

The Drawing Board

Comment by Alex Osterwalder on February 18, 2009 at 5:10pm
absolutely, Deborah!
Comment by Deborah Mills-Scofield on February 18, 2009 at 2:03am
Not sure where you add this (6? the way the book works?) - but the book is about embracing paradox (that's the term I use in my work) - about being able to accept and leverage (embrace) paradox - it's not an either/or it's an AND - (roger martin's "opposable minds") - it's about cognitive dissonance and the creative edge that causes which can result in new creations - which commercialized become innovations.

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