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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K039695/1
Title: Building Better Business Models: Capturing the Transformative Potential of the Digital Economy
Principal Investigator: Baden Fuller, Professor C
Other Investigators:
Kretschmer, Professor M Haefliger, Professor S Morgan, Professor MS
Nightingale, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Management
Organisation: City, University of London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 30 June 2017 Value (£): 939,389
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Human-Computer Interactions Information & Knowledge Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Financial Services Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Mar 2013 NEM in the DE - Interviews Announced
26 Feb 2013 NEM in the DE - Sift Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This research project is exploring how firms are applying and engaging with new digital technologies to become more efficient, profitable and dynamic. While there is considerable understanding about how digital technologies allow firms to create value, there is much less understanding of how firms can use DE to sense what consumers and society needs and monetize that value and turn it into financial returns for investors, entrepreneurs and shareholders. This is part of a more general concern that the UK economy is relatively good at invention but less good at producing firms that capture its benefits in new, fast growing markets. By exploring how digital technology is transforming the three elements that make up a business model - how firms understand customers' needs, how they create value for customers, and how they capture and monetize this value - this project will generate new understanding about how digital technology can be commercialised more effectively. This knowledge will help firms in the UK generate more jobs, more economic growth and improved services to firms and the general public.

The empirical part of the project will conduct research on (a) sectors that generate digital technology such as open-source software (b) sectors that use digital technology in products of services such as digital entertainment and (c) sectors that use DE in their processes such as B2B financial services. The results will help us understand:

- (a) how firms sense and understand what their customers (and society) want using digital technologies. For example, there are now large data-sets being generated about how individuals interact with new products and services, which can increasingly be collected in real time to allow much faster feedback from customers about their likes and dislikes. Similarly, new sensors are allowing firms to monitor how other firms are using their products and services. This information, and the closer engagement with customers digital technologies allow, can be used to inform better decisions about customers' needs and faster and more effective decision making about the design of new commercial offerings.

- (b) how they create value for their customers. For example, new digital technologies allow a much larger information content to be provided with goods and services, they enhance the allocation of resources, they allow pre-emptive maintenance and allow improved financial modelling, etc. These changes are increasing the commercial opportunities between traditional sectors, where firms can create value in areas where there is limited competition.

- (c) how they capture (and monetize) that value. Digital technologies can fundamentally change markets. As a result, it is often unclear how they capture the value that they create. This was seen in the failure of many dot.com firms, but even today many firms are failing to turn the value they generate through innovation into commercial returns and profits.

The project will also engage in fundamental theoretical research about the nature of models, and modelling in the economy and explore how managers can and should use models. For this work the project draws on expertise from a wide range of academic disciplines, including philosophy of science, sociology, engineering and the natural sciences.

In all this work, the project team will engage closely with industrialists and non-academic research users in the UK government and civil society. A key part of the project involves building capacity in this area, which will be achieved through a significant investment of time and effort in training for the wider academic community and career development for junior researchers able to work closely with a wide body of other researchers across the boundaries that separate industry, academia and government.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.city.ac.uk