He is a very popular author, so it was a great opportunity to see American Bob Willard clarify his ‘21st Century Business Model’ at NBM2020. He illustrated the difference compared to business models from the previous century with a memorable quote: “The environment is the holding company of the 21st Century”.
Willard was one of the 240 scientists from around the world that presented their findings on the unique digital conference on new business models: NBM2020. It was like a waterfall of ideas cascading down. A P+ Special English edition shows a summary of what was presented.
Willard's model clearly takes into account environmental and social risks for companies in the current century. Interesting slides showed the limits of the planet, similar to the work of British economist Kate Raworth.
In a crystal-clear speech, Willard gradually built up a dashboard showing the results of all efforts. Even the extent to which the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were achieved. It was quite something. He also presented a slide in which the impact of a company for SDG 1 ‘No poverty' was as much as 82 percent. Despite this fact, the company still achieved a turnover of 5.6 billion dollars and a profit of 0.6 billion. Willard, too, still measures in financial terms these days, or, in his case, dollars.
But not all participating scientists use money as an instrument to measure value anymore. The organisors of the digital event, prof. Jan Jonker and assistant professor Niels Faber saw a trend in the years this conference exits.
Jonker says: “Five years ago, business models exclusively applied to companies. These models revolve around value creation. But how that value is defined, shifted from a strictly financial angle to a much broader social perspective. At the same time, it switched from an issue that only applied to companies to something that is relevant to an increasing number of parties. You'll often hear: yes, but this research involves biodiversity. What's the revenue model? Where are the registers? Is it a register that rings for cash, or is it a register that structurally results in CO2 reductions? What unit do we use in our calculations?”