The exquisite artfulness of new business design

Peter JonesInnovation, Wu Wei

I’m holding a physical copy of most the inspiring, wonderfully visual and tactile business book ever written and produced. Because this self-published book was designed, not so much edited, the end result is both visual spectacular and readily understandable.

Business Model Generation, by Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, and designed by Toronto’s own Alan Smith (of The Movement) is billed as A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers.The design and physical awesomeness of this book shows why eBooks will never eliminate the printed book, especially the craft book. There is nothing more cognitively usable than a beautiful book. And Business Model Generation stands with or beats Taschen’s best craft books. This is the actual cover art, 1/4 cardboard with a flat lay binding:

BMG book-cover

The book was uniquely co-created (contributed to) by me and 469 other paying members of the BMG Hub book community, an innovative and experimental business model for the book’s production. The book review and contribution community is a model I’ve since used (without the paying part) for the book Design for Care (now > 200 members & growing). But Alex, Yves and Alan raise the bar for all books. If this is the nu biz gen, then I may have to re-evaluate some of my skepticism of the durability of Design+Business Thinking (TM). There is something happening here that is beyond what we think we know.

The book builds a platform for business model thinking based on the “canvas” metaphor, (a model I’ve used with my own clients earlier this year when it was being developed). Chapters on business model patterns, design approaches, business strategy, and process follow. You can preview the content with a generous download available here.

For the serious management consultant or the new entrepreneur, this book will ignite powerful new ways of thinking about the designing the business experience. It gives you a toolkit for co-creative conversation.  I recommend it to practitioners and, especially, educators. While business schools are licking their post-traumatic crash wounds, and wondering what they did to create ravenously sociopathic killer MBAs, the new Generation book shows how commerce is reinventing itself as a collaborative, infinite game of innovation and invention.