Today, on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, we welcome innovation expert and one of the top-ranked thinkers in the world, Alex Osterwalder. You’ll hear how Alex views failure, about his mentorship with Yves Pigneur, and which companies he views as leaders in business model innovation.

We talk about how Alex’s goals changed and have evolved throughout his life. Early on he wanted to be a professional beach volleyball player. Although this worked out for his beach volleyball partner (Stefan Kobel), Alex went on to study business and political science. His education began his journey questioning why things were the way they were.

In this episode, Alex explains the ideal work structure in the 21st Century, including why your company might need a Chief Entrepreneur or Chief Internal Venture Capitalist. We also talk about the power of using visuals, and what it’s like to be a company in the “sweet spot”.

Listen to the episode in the player above, or download and enjoy it on Apple Podcasts. If you’re so inclined, please leave us a review!

Takeaways from this episode:

  • Questioning things can provide alternatives. Alex’s education in political science and business helped him to start questioning the ways businesses are set up. Could there be a better way to structure things?
  • Failures can be great opportunities. When Alex looks back, some of the failures he experienced helped him pivot his life in a positive direction. Because Alex had an interview he considers a failure, he was available for a job even better-suited for him.
  • What is a business model? Alex defines this as “how you create, deliver, and capture value”. When business models have expired- what do you do? Alex walks us through Ping An’s innovation as an example.
  • Innovation should be valued at the top. Alex explains the Chief Entrepreneur- someone at the top of the company who is looking for ways to innovate. 1) Managing the present and inventing the future should be of equal-importance. 2) You need a team to help with innovation. Alex explains the role of a Chief Portfolio Manager, a Chief Risk Officer and more.
  • Try using visuals. Concepts can often be visualized more easily with an image than with words. Visuals can help align the understanding of more people.
  • Think ahead. Alex references Netflix’s ability to look a few business models ahead.

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