A number of recent developments in the business sector, such as the rapid spread of information technologies and other technical innovations, on the one hand, and growing expectations on the part of different stakeholders including governments, civil society and the general public, necessitate the emergence of new approaches to doing business.
While change occurs faster than ever, it often takes a radical form that questions the traditional ways of doing business and replaces them with new, innovative business models.
Although lagging somewhat behind practical development, the scientific literature describing the notion and practice of innovative business models has grown considerably over the last few years owing to the rise of internet-based business models. Innovative business models appear in every sector of the economy, challenging traditional ways of creating and capturing value.
Such innovative business models change the roles of market players (businesses, consumers, governments). who find themselves in roles not foreseen even just a few years ago. Consumers enter the market not only through the purchase of products and services but as producers offering various services on the market (e.g. by producing electricity from renewable sources or by participating in the different forms of the sharing economy). Governments and businesses cooperate in joint projects that tackle social and environmental issues previously beyond the scope of business organisations. Finally, civil society and the general public are empowered by the information flow through the internet making them more informed than ever.
Innovative business models offer solutions to several important sustainability issues by connecting people and replacing physical goods with services, and material consumption with experiences. While positive examples abound, the broader implications of so-called sustainable business models are not yet clear. For this reason, the Sustainable Research Centre at iASK aims at a deeper understanding of new, emerging business models in order to uncover their medium- and long-term effects on society, the economy and the natural environment.