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How To Get Leadership Buy-In For Business Model Design Training

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Are you championing the need for business model innovation training inside your organization? Having trouble getting leadership buy-in? In this post we explain how to get leadership on board with training a workforce on business model innovation.

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Leadership buy in is incredibly important for companies that want to innovate new business models and value propositions. Your company leadership will not only sponsor any training, they’ll also be required to participate. It’s leadership’s responsibility to lead by example. Without leadership buy-in, support, and participation, your training program will fail to gain momentum and acceptance across the organization.

But how can you convince executives that business model innovation is important to the future of the company?

In May of this year, we hosted a Q&A webinar session with MasterCard. The global technology company had successfully scaled business model training to over 1,000 of its global workforce. Leadership buy-in was crucial to the success of the organization’s mission to teach its people to innovate business models.

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Leigh Bochicchio and Eric Klisz, MasterCard’s internal champions for business model innovation training, offered their tips for leadership buy-in:

Use the tools to present progress for existing projects

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Have you been using the Business Model and Value Proposition Canvas on your own or with a small team for existing internal projects? Start using the tools with leadership when presenting progress and evidence on internal strategy projects or initiatives. Any evidence that displays you or your team’s ability to tangibly and visually discuss strategy and innovation will be powerful for leadership adoption.

It’s a subtle way to pique the curiosity of management, and to introduce them to a framework for business model innovation. You’ll be showing off how the tools have been helpful for guiding existing projects, and it could kick-off a conversation around how these tools can guide the exploration for future growth engines.

If you want to brush up on your presentation skills, watch a replay of our webinar on Ways To Present The Business Model Canvas. The broadcast includes great insights on giving a killer presentation with the Business Model Canvas.

Organize a leadership learning event

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Mastercard leadership attended a separate one day on-site training session to encourage executive buy-in of the program, and to champion the tools and methodology across the organization. Your organization could host a similar session, or try out smaller lunch and learn sessions with executives across the company. A dedicated leadership event will allow you to properly educate your executive audience on the importance of business model innovation training. It will also be a chance for management to play with the tools and experience the approach and methodology first hand.

Get leadership attention with some disaster scenarios

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You’ve got company leadership in the room, now what? You could start by showcasing some disaster scenarios--examples of companies that failed to innovate their business models and crumbled. It’s a good way to get leadership attention, and it’ll get the creative juices flowing in the room. More importantly, you’ll be showcasing how business model innovation is an urgent topic and not something to take lightly. Ignoring business model innovation will be riskier than anything else your company does.

Need an example? Use Kodak. Kodak was an innovative company and the organization was the first to release the foundation for digital camera technology. But its product innovation wasn’t enough to save the company from going bankrupt. They failed to innovate a potential business model that could also carry the company into the future. A quick Google search will bring up many examples of companies that failed to reinvent themselves.

Showcase success stories of innovative companies

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Don’t just show failure, also showcase the successful companies that learned to constantly reinvent themselves. Amazon, Google, Uber, Airbnb, Gore, Facebook, and more. These are companies with products that people actively use. But more importantly, it’s the innovative business models behind each one that make a real difference.

Many of these examples include great instances where a company didn’t have to create a new product to innovate its business model. In Amazon’s instance, the company’s popular Amazon Web Services business was borne out of an existing resource that could create new value for customers. 

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