There is no tool culture (yet)!


This is a series of interviews where we talk to experts who have developed tools for strategy and innovation. An interview with Alexander Osterwalder, Co-Founder Strategyzer, Lead Author of Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design.

alexosterwalder-2How the journey on tools for strategy started

I became familiar with the Business Model Canvas end of 2007 through the blogpost of Alexander Osterwalder. I learned that this tool can help to design new business models for new concepts. It helped me to avoid writing business plans for our clients. In Spring 2008 I invited Alex to come over to Amsterdam to do a training course on the Business Model Canvas. After the workshop we decided to work on a book that features the strategy tool Business Model Canvas. This tool has changed the way we think about innovation and it started my journey on exploration and application of tools. For my new book I wanted to get Alex’ opinion on where we stand at the moment applying these tools in business. We just started he says.

Business people lack the right skills and tools

Alex Osterwalder: “Where accountants, doctors, and surgeons are trained to use tools, business people are well trained for operations. They think they can innovate, but they lack the right skills and tools to do so. Whereas Apple and Amazon continuously reinvent their business models and are successful in doing so, other companies are helpless. Their traditional corporate structures conflict with design processes and innovation. It is in nobody’s P&L so they just don’t care. Sure, companies innovate their products. But they have a hard time going beyond product innovation and traditional R&D. Nowadays an increasing number of business schools are teaching business model innovation as well as the tools for design and innovation. But we are still very much at the start. I am excited to learn more about how others develop and use tools for design, innovation, and strategy as the new drivers of business.”

Want to know more about tools and skills?

On the platform design a better business we share insights on tools for strategy and innovation and learn how people use this in organisations. Alex’ tools like the Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Canvas are included in the toolbox. Alex is featured in our book Design a Better Business.

By Patrick van der Pijl - Author

Patrick is CEO of Business Models Inc. and producer of the worldwide bestseller Business Model Generation. He is passionate to help entrepreneurs, leaders, rebels and corporate companies to innovate their business model and design a future strategy.