One entrepreneurial group I’m starting to work with is the EyeNetra team at the MIT Media Lab. They have a very cool technology that essentially crams an optometrist and her equipment into your iPhone. Yes, there’s an app for that. This could be big news for the half billion people around the world who can’t fulfill their potential due to poor vision and lack of access to affordable diagnostics. Check out their web site. Pretty amazing stuff.
In this case, the challenge isn’t so much the technology but how to achieve scale by turning the technology into a business. I don’t mean to trivialize the technology in any way – the team is incredibly talented and has applied their creativity, brilliance and frankly hard work to developing some amazing alpha/beta prototypes. There is still more work to be done. It’s just that in order to impact the lives of a half billion people, this needs to be a business with a profitable and scalable business model. So the business model needs to be hypothesized, visualized, debated and ultimately quantified.
To help the team with that task, we’re going to be using Alexander Osterwalder’s business model generation canvas. If you’re not familiar with it, you should consider buying the book, visiting the Wikipedia page or downloading the canvas itself.
I also created a Google presentation that you can use as a collaborative tool. It includes the business model canvas, explanations and definitions of the various terms and some suggestions on how to use it. You can see a non-editable preview below and access it here. Please save your own copy before starting to develop your own business model!