Digital Business Models: Successful examples and underlying patterns

10 Patterns for successful digital business model innovation

Titelbild: Digitale Geschäftsmodelle
Developing digital business models is a must for every company today. Fortunately, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful since even the well-known models of the big tech-companies are based on recurring patterns that you can apply to your own business. We list 10 suitable patterns including real-world use cases.


Digital transformation and new business models

The digital transformation changed markets in a fundamental way. Therefore, today it is absolutely essential to put your business model and its mechanics to the test. In our understanding, markets are nothing less than the relationships between companies and customers. And digitization opened up completely new possibilities and approaches for shaping these relationships. New distribution channels, payment models or additional revenue streams through new services are now generally accepted due to their broad application in both b2b and b2c. And it is paramount that every company checks the underlying patterns of these models in order to apply them to its own business.

Since there are still companies that aren’t making use of these opportunities, there is still a lot of potential to be realized here. For these companies, it might be important to scrutinize their relationship with their costumers and adapt it better to their new needs and wishes. Those who establish processes and ways of thinking that focus on customer needs will be more likely to lead their respective industries, and/or be better prepared for possible disruptions of their markets.

Now, there is some good news concerning this: in order to further develop one’s business model, it is only rarely necessary to completely “reinvent the wheel”. Rather, it is possible to fall back on existing patterns that underlie most of today’s successful business models. And we have put together a list of 10 patterns for you, that are expecially important when it comes to digitizing a business.

You can find out more about business model innovation in my blog post: Rethinking business models


Digital Business Models: 10 patterns (and lots of real life examples)

The following business model patterns are particularly suitable for use in a digital context. They can be found among the 55 patterns of business models identified by the authors of the St. Gallen Business Model Navigator. We invite you to try and apply the corresponding questions from our method box to your own company.


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Digital Business Models and Innovation: A Thoughtful Approach is Essential

As you can see from the examples, these business model patterns are neither unknown nor complicated. They are also not mutually exclusive, and in many cases they can be combined. The challenge now is to figure out which patterns are suited best for one’s own company and draw as many impulses as possible from them in order to then further develop the current business model. In our consulting process, we systematically identify those patterns that give the company the best development impulses. This may sound simple on paper, but it is complex to the extent that the mechanics of a business model always have strategic and economic implications, i.e. they are associated with a considerable degree of uncertainty. For this reason, together with our clients we form innovation teams and confront the identified innovation potentials from the “business model” search field with the human context and the technology factor.

One thing is certain: Especially in the search for digital business models, there are always surprising opportunities for innovation.