New Technologies and Business Model Innovation in emerging markets: Our experience in Bangladesh.

In early October Peter, consultant of the BMI Lab team, was invited to hold a keynote on business model innovation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, following an invitation by the Centre of Technology Transfer and Innovation, a part of the Bangladeshi Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (BCSIR). In the interview, he is talking about his experience working with Bangladeshi businesses and the relationship between business model innovation and new technologies

What was the reason for your involvement in Bangladesh?

A delegation of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific & Industrial Research joined us last year for one of our BMI workshops in St.Gallen. They were highly interested in using the approach for their Centre of Technology Transfer, where technologies introduced by the Centre are offered to Bangladeshi businesses. I was invited to Dhaka to speak about business model innovation and its potential to give businesses in Bangladesh a competitive advantage when used in combination with new technologies. In this particular case, the businesses were presented with a new fish farming technology that is becoming more and more interesting in Bangladesh due to the changing climate and decreasing fish volume coming from traditional fishing.

 A view of the participants during the keynote about innovation and new technologies.

A view of the participants during the keynote about innovation and new technologies.

What is the relation between business model innovation and new technologies?

Whenever a company encounters a new technology to work with, it should consider the impact this technology makes on the products and services it offers. Whenever there is a potential for changing the way products or services are offered or sold, business model innovation should be applied. In the case of fish farming and the Bangladeshi businesses who attended the workshop, the importance of thinking in new business models was apparent. Most companies came from the textile or related industries and did not have experience in the fish farming industry. In such cases, working with our BMI pattern cards can be of high value to figure out potential innovative business models.

What are the difficulties when working with new technologies?

What we see most often with our clients is that they become very focused on the technical specifications of a new technology and forget about building a business model that is attractive to their customers. The result is a technically excellent product or service that often does not satisfy the underlying needs their customers have. This is why it is incredibly important to bring in the customer’s feedback into the development of products and services as soon as possible and develop them further in an iterative way.

What did you learn from your experience in Bangladesh?

I was highly impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit in the workshop and the willingness to try out new things and models. The approach is far more hands-on than in many companies in Europe. When an opportunity arises, there are less bureaucratic hurdles to get into it. This makes business model innovation easier to implement.

 Participants had the chance to ask many questions about innovation and its interlink with new technologies.

Participants had the chance to ask many questions about innovation and its interlink with new technologies.

Thanks a lot for your time, Peter. Is there anything you would like to add?

You’re welcome! I would like to say that the workshop also showed me once more that the business models that were identified by our Professors at the University of St.Gallen work on a global basis and not only in Europe and the US.