Business model ecosystems and their implications for sustainability
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- Master Thesis 
Stand-alone strategies do not work anymore, instead business models have to fit into their business ecosystem to co-create and co-capture value. This thesis deals with the modern concept of business model ecosystems and how they can be managed and innovated. Also, this thesis aims to draw conclusions about the implications the business model ecosystem has for sustainability. Conclusions are derived by drawing from the scientific findings in the form of a synthesis of the concepts ‘business models’ and ‘business ecosystems’. Moreover, the findings are synthesized and analyzed with respect to sustainability. In this thesis, it was assessed that the business ecosystem constitutes an own instance and requires its own business model to manage the value co-creation and co-capture. Business model ecosystems have been defined as stories of how the business ecosystem works. The business model ecosystem describes a system of how the modules of a business ecosystem are linked together, considering all kinds of interactions. A good business model ecosystem must have a logic (who needs to be included), structure (who hands off to whom), and governance (who sets the rules). It can be concluded that participants of business ecosystems have to cooperate as well as compete to maximize value co-created and co-captured. This holds true for financial but also for social and environmental values. Therefore, the business model ecosystem also constitutes a powerful framework for business ecosystems to become more sustainable by managing value flows across the triple bottom line. Business ecosystems provide its members access to new knowledge, resources and opportunities for business model innovation. The innovation of a single business model can change the entire value flows of an ecosystem. However, that requires the community to be open, transparent and trustful. Moreover, the business ecosystem requires a common vision and common values. On this basis, the actors can cooperate to materialize a common value proposition.