Nearly 120 researchers from more than 20 countries attended the 2nd International Conference on New Business Models, held from 20-23 June 2017 in Graz, Austria. They listened to – and of course intensively discussed – more than 70 presentations in eight sessions and had the opportunity to explore new business modelling tools in four hands-on workshops.
The International Conference on New Business Models series was founded by Prof. Jan Jonker, motivated by upcoming trends and by having cognizance of the fact that our societies are facing serious problems in various domains. Hence, a generation of new business models that foster sustainability, social inclusion and circularity could be one promising approach tackling such problems but also providing innovations in a pro-active way so that societal or ecological problems are not only diminished afterwards but prevented from the beginning. These three strands of business models are referred to as “new business models.” Together they address various aspects of business modelling and in doing so they give substance to the economic transitions society desires since they are embedded in everyday transactions, be it between citizens or businesses or any other societal actor. However, in this light academic research as well as practical experience from various fields, like business modelling, entrepreneurship, innovation management, strategic management, business model design, to name but a few, is necessary and required in order to provide a solid ground for future activities.
Against this backdrop, the Graz conference was also used to point to some remarkable developments that can currently be observed. In particular, the many research and practice activities, niche communities, publications, communication and publishing channels and so forth which emerge around new business models. There are many valuable bits and pieces – or nodes and relationships – that emerge here and there and contribute to what is becoming a global network and community of scholars, business practitioners, policy makers and civil society actors who follow a common vision: to enable all kinds of organisations, be it profit-driven or purely social mission-driven, to use the growing knowledge that results from business model research for the sake of stakeholder- and society-sensitive as well as circular and sustainable value creation.
This is what the keynote speakers, Maurits Groen (WakaWaka), Antony Upward (Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group) and Jan Jonker (Radboud University Nijmegen) in their talks delivered as their common main message as well: a new understanding of value creation and success enabling the participation of various constituents is urgently needed but possible at the same time. Therefore, the Graz conference, of which 450-page proceedings are available online, was dedicated to “Exploring a changing view on organizing value creation: Developing New Business Models” – a topic that will also be explored in three special issues:
- The International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility calls for papers on “Business Models for the Circular Economy”;
- The Journal of Accountancy & Bedrijfskunde will develop a special issue on “Exploring a changing view on organizing value creation – Developing New Business Models”; and
- The Journal of Business Models motivates authors to submit papers on “Sustainable Value Creation Through Business Models”.
This year’s conference edition followed the inaugural conference held in 2016 in Toulouse, France, and prepared the ground for the third edition in 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The fourth and fifth editions are also under preparation.
Romana Rauter & Florian Lüdeke-Freund
on behalf of the Organizing Committee NBM@Graz2017 and the NBM Board Members