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SIMON: Simultaneous development of product and business model

Design & Innovation

SIMON: Simultaneous development of product and business model

The goal of the “SIMON” project is to stimulate businesses in the Flemish textile, wood and furniture industry that are into product diversification, to consider a simultaneous development of product and business model.
A sequential approach, where first a product is developed and later an adjusted business model has to be developed, does not lead to good results and considerably extends the time-to-market.

Type project VIS-project
Project partners Optimo vzw, Vlerick Business School and Flanders Inshape
Duration February 01, 2014 - April 30, 2016
Contact person Maka De Lameillieure, PhD

Problem definition

Pressured by changing circumstances, companies in the textile, wood and furniture industry increase their diversification efforts. They leave the beaten track and the familiar product/market combinations and go looking for new products on new markets and new ranges of application. One problem with this is that the success ratio of those product diversifications is low.
This success not only depends on a well-founded product development, but also on a number of other factors that are part of a company’s broader business model. The problem is that companies don’t realize that their existing business model is not or no longer suited for this product diversification. A sequential approach, where first a product is developed and later an adjusted business model has to be developed, does not lead to good results and considerably extends the time-to-market.
The challenge is to achieve a simultaneous development of the product and business model.

Economic added value

The economic added value for the target group companies will specifically take shape in the following 3 effects:

  1. Time-to-market shortened by 33%
  2. Development cost lowered by 10%
  3. Increase of the success rate for product diversifications from 25% to 50%

Project goal and results

The goal of the “SIMON” project was to stimulate businesses in the target group, i.e. businesses in the Flemish textile, wood and furniture industry that are into product diversification, to consider a simultaneous development of product and business model.
This lead to the following project results:

  • Literature study: an overview of the state-of-the art principles in product development and business model innovation, through professional literature as well as best practices;
  • Case-based research: we applied the state-of-the-art principles and validated the results through case-based research at 10 representative companies in the target group;
  • Development of a generic methodology and tool: the results of the case-based research were translated into a generic methodology (step-by-step plan) and a user-friendly tool to visualize and streamline the interaction between product and business model.
  • Sensibilization and knowledge dissemination: we sensibilized 140 target group companies for the importance of a simultaneous development of product and business model. The results of the case-based research and the methodology and tool created are distributed in a large target group.

Target group

The extensive target group (approx. 600 companies) of this project was the Flemish textile, wood and furniture industry, with a focus on companies that manufacture interior design products. Within this extensive target group, the project specifically focused on companies that:

  • were at least in the second stage of the design process (approx. 92%);
  • followed a strategy of product diversification (approx. 25%).

The project therefore had a direct target group of about 140 companies. Since diversification strategies are mainly present in the furniture industry, we estimate that around 60% of the direct target group will come from that industry, and 20% each from the wood industry and the textile industry.

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Maka de lameillieure

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Maka De Lameillieure, PhD

Phone: +32 498 91 94 99

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