Alex Osterwalder: ‘Business models expire like yogurt in the fridge’

In the five years since Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur published the book “Business Model Generation,” their approach to describing, testing, and adjusting business models — known as the Business Model Canvas — has been adopted by both dorm room startups and multinational corporations.

We spoke with Osterwalder in December about how he sees large companies using the Business Model Canvas; its relationship to the lean startup methodology; and the challenges companies face in building growth engines that are as powerful as their execution engines.

The transcript is below, along with audio. Some highlights:

    • “Business models and value propositions expire like a yogurt in the fridge.”
    • “If we want large companies to create new growth engines like startups, we need to create a new position called the chief entrepreneur.”
    • “Antibodies kick in when somebody’s trying out something new, because people are afraid. It shouldn’t be like that. Somebody’s building the future. Somebody’s managing the existing business.”
    • “Evidence trumps opinion.”

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