PhD Seminar: Business Model Development Driven by Radical Circles – examples from the video game industry and beyond
A Three-Day Interdisciplinary Doctoral Seminar (3 ECTS)
from Wednesday 4th to Friday 6th October, 2017
at University of Oulu, Faculty of ITEE
Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, School of Business
Adjunct Professor, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture
Local contact & organizer: Arto Lanamäki (Interact, ITEE, University of Oulu)
Trying to radically change global industry and market wide agreement is, on the average, unlikely to succeed. This course introduces how first developing a radical vision in a small and closely knit group where the group’s members are their own most merciless critics increases the likelihood of success. The course is grounded in a broad spectrum of different disciplines and leverages on research activities over the last three decades in several industrial, market and geographical contexts, with a particular focus on business modeling and leadership related to Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds and Supercell’s Hay Day. Other firms and industries include Alessi, Jaakko Pöyry Group, Marimekko, Nokia, and Sonera. The aim is for the students and Dr. Ainamo to together co-create, develop and contextualize insights, arguments and perspectives for radical visions and their development in and for also other contexts and/or time periods than those pre-designed into the schedule.
Antti Ainamo is Adjunct Professor at Aalto University, at both School of Business and School of Arts, Design and Architecture. His research has focused on temporary forms of organizing, especially in creative and cultural industries such as fashion, design, the media, law, music, architecture, or academia. His recent work is centered on sustainable business models, creating and changing business ecosystems, and seemingly irrational but by hindsight highly successful design approaches.
Home page: http://linkedin.com/in/anttiainamo
Schedule and literature
Wednesday 4 October (Seminar Day 1 of 3)
at TS128 (University of Oulu main campus, Tietotalo)
Literature to be read beforehand:
- Burger-Helmchen, T., & P. Cohendet 2011 “User communities and social software in the video game industry”, Long Range Planning, 44(5), 317-343.
- Douglas, J. Y & A. B. Hargadon 2001 "The pleasures of immersion and engagement: schemas, scripts and the fifth business." Digital Creativity, 12(3): 153-166.
- Teece, D., G. Pisano & A. Shuen 1997, “Dynamic capabilities and strategic management”, Strategic Management Journal,
- Verganti, R. 2016 “The innovative power of criticism”, Harvard Business Review, 94(1-2): 88-95.
12:00-12:30 Dr. Ainamo’s lecture 1: Introduction to the three-day doctoral seminar and to Day 1
Trying to radically change global industry and market wide agreement is, on the average, unlikely to succeed. This course introduces the doctoral student to why, when first developing a radical vision, a small and closely knit group where the group’s members are their own most merciless critics increases the likelihood of success. The course is grounded in a broad spectrum of different disciplines and leverages on research activities over the last three decades in several industrial, market and geographical contexts, with a particular orientation towards understanding of business modeling and leadership related to Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds and Supercell’s Hay Day. To deepen understanding of offering creation and business modelling beyond video games, other firms and organizations with Finnish roots that are discussed during the course include Jaakko Pöyry Group, Linux, Marimekko, Nokia, and Sonera. The aim is for the students and Dr. Ainamo to together to be able to co-create, develop and contextualize insights, arguments and perspectives for radical visions and their development towards successful business models in or across also other contexts and/or time periods than those pre-designed into the schedule.
12:30-15:00 Dr. Ainamo’s lecture 2: Vision development through radical circles
How was it possible that a giant like Microsoft, totally focused on software, developed a totally new platform, the Xbox, with an operative system that was incompatible with Windows, its incumbent core technology? Prior to the Xbox, Microsoft strong hold had always been clearly on business clients and productivity applications; now it made a dive into a journey made of hardware, young consumers, and entertainment. In innovation studies, a common thread has been that the major challenge for innovating is to foster the creativity of individuals and teams, through design thinking, and the development of tools and methods to enhance thinking ‘‘outside of the box’’. In firms, this has been paralled exploration of ways to enlarge the divergence of ideas from which to choose, by increasing the numbers of people involved, through mechanisms such as IBM’s Innovation Jams, and externally, through approaches such as open innovation and crowdsourcing. This perspective of ‘bottom-up” or ‘democratized” innovation has proven to be effective when fostering innovation within the existing strategic frame of an organization. In addition to IBM, other international examples include Danfoss, General Mills, or NASA. But what happens when innovation concerns the vision itself? When a firm is in need for innovation that moves outside of the existing vision, or even in contrast with it? When it consists of a radical transformation in the way a firm do business?
15:00-16:00 Exercises and discussion
Building on the foundation(s) of who you are and what you know from experience and training, on the basis of these particular capabilities, your task is to explore and understand the video game industry. Feel free to ask “why”, to question the norms, values and criteria that individuals, design teams and organizations in this industry use to create value, capture value, or both? Ask yourself and –selves, what kinds of video games or features you feel are well known and commoditized; what kinds games or features there ought to be, instead? Please try to describe, even to explain, why you feel this way?
Thursday 5 October (Seminar Day 2 of 3)
at TS335 (University of Oulu main campus, Tietotalo)
Literature to be read beforehand:
- Akaka, M. A., Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. 2013 “The complexity of context: A service ecosystems approach for international marketing”, Journal of Marketing Research, 21(4), 1-20.
- Arakji, R. Y., & Lang, K. R. 2007 “Digital consumer networks and producer-consumer collaboration: Innovation and product development in the video game industry”, Journal of Management Information Systems, 24(2), 195-219.
- McMahan, A. 2003 “Immersion, engagement, and presence”, in: : 67-86.
- R. & A. Shani 2016, “Vision transformation through radical circles”, Organizational Dynamics, 45: 104-113.
9:15-11:00 Dr. Ainamo’s lecture 3: Design thinking in radical circles
Individuals forming a “radical circle” are good at “design thinking” in the meaning of an “outside the box” approach and attitude. They are good in seeing new opportunities, sustaining each other, being critically reflective of each other’s ideas, attitudes, and behavior. These qualities are central during an initial quest toward a radical new vision. In a radical circle, there is little need to be good at all in planning, implementing, involving large organizational systems. On the other hand, no-one at the outset of a radical circle tends to be good at building power base or influence, and to be politically savvy tends to be an exception to the rule rather than a rule (otherwise these individuals would move within the established frameworks). After the new vision driven by a radical circle finally surfaces, starts to be accepted, and moves to implementation within a larger organizations, the above kind of peculiar qualities lose relative importance. A more planned, formal, inclusive, and decisional behaviour-and-skill set is necessary to move forward a process such as business-modeling.
11:00-11:45 Lunch break
11:45-14:45 Exercises, presentations by doctoral-student teams & discussion
Exercise topic T.B.A. (in the first session of Day 2)
14:45-15:00 Coffee break
15:00-16:00 Dr. Ainamo’s summary of Day 2
Friday 6 October (Seminar Day 3 of 3)
at TS127 (University of Oulu main campus, Tietotalo)
Literature to be read beforehand:
- Ainamo, A. 2013 “Private-collective innovation in the Finnish gaming ecosystem, 1991 to 2012”, ISPIM Conference Proceedings. The International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM).
- Ainamo, A. & T. Tammi 2013 “Inhabitants of virtual worlds, players of online video games–Beware!”, in: D. Power & R. Teigland (eds.) Postcards from the Metaverse: An Introduction to the Immersive Internet. UK: Palgrave Macmillan: 158-167.
- Hacklin, F., J. Björkdahl & M. Wallin 2017, “Strategies for business model innovation: How firms reel in migrating value, Long Range Planning: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2017.06.009
- Pisano, G. P., & Verganti, R. (2008). Which kind of collaboration is right for you. Harvard business review, 86(12), 78-86.
- Zott, C., & Amit, R. 2013, “The business model: A theoretically anchored robust construct for strategic analysis”. Strategic Organization, 11(4), 403-411.
9:15-9:30 Reflection on Day 2
9:30-11:00 Dr. Ainamo’s lecture 4 (Open to interested OU faculty & staff):
Business model development driven by radical circles
This lecture, open to all OU faculty & staff, reports briefly on empirical research by Antti Ainamo, Claudio Dell’Era & Roberto Verganti on how a radical vision can transform a whole industry, in which research we have analysed radical visions behind the success of Angry Birds by Rovio Entertainment and Hay Day by Supercell. Anchored in the above ongoing research, the presentation reflects on some of the good ideas co-created during the course, as well as similar courses at e.g. Tongji University, St. Petersburg, or the Swedish School of Textiles. Take-aways and other learnings of the three-day workshop are pin-pointed. Taking into account theoretical and empirical advancements in recent business model research, also new research are identified on important, yet unanswered research questions when it comes to business model development driven by radical circles, business model development in general, private-collective innovation, ecosystems, video games, and/or new pedagogical approaches.
11:00-12:00 Summary, closing discussion & possible next steps
The seminar articles can be downloaded here as a zip-file.