While business model innovation has been widely accepted as an innovation category on its own, its problem-solving potential is still unexplored. We argue that business model innovation can be applied beyond single firms, i.e. on the value network level, to find systemic solutions to “wicked” problems. A framework and method for sustainable business model innovation for value networks are proposed: the former building on the concept of normative management, the latter on a “mainstream” business modelling tool. This method was applied and evaluated in a workshop series on regional energy networks in Germany. We review the literature on sustainable business models, provide the theoretical background of normative innovation management, describe the workshops, and reflect on the lessons learned from theory and practice. We conclude that the best starting point for systemic sustainability innovations lies beyond single firms within networks built on shared goals and normative values.


Business model innovation; sustainable business model; value network; energy business; business modelling starter kit; futures workshop


Breuer, H. & Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2014): Normative Innovation for Sustainable Business Models in Value Networks, in: Huizingh, K.; Conn, S.; Torkkeli, M. & Bitran, I. (Eds.): The Proceedings of XXV ISPIM Conference – Innovation for Sustainable Economy and Society, 8-11 June 2014, Dublin, Ireland. (ISBN 978-952-265-591-2)

ResearchGate | SSRN

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