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Business Model Sophistication

"Not realising business model sophistication opportunities basically equates to wasting money and losing competitive edge."

Peter Kesting, Associate Professor, Aarhus BSS, and Franziska Günzel-Jensen, Associate Professor, Aarhus BSS.

In this course, we introduce five business model sophistication strategies that can add value to your business by creating new revenue streams and/or reducing costs.

Facts about the course

Date: TBA

Duration: 9.00 - 16.00

Venue: Aarhus BSS, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V

Language of instruction: English

Price: DKK 5,400 excl. VAT and incl. course materials, lunch and refreshments
Discount opportunities

Your takeaways

In the course, you will gain insight into how you can:

  • Understand the business model and see secondary business opportunities, how one activity paves the way for other activities
  • Understand how stakeholders can be transformed into valueholders
  • See new opportunities and create new revenue streams for your own firm
  • Involve the crowd and find partners in order to reduce costs
  • Create a roadmap to strategically engage in business model sophistication


Pernille Hjorth Nielsen

Programme manager
H bldg. 2610, S413c
P +4587152361
P +4521841124

About the course

For good reasons, the focus of successful firms is on their core business, their key customers, new trends and technical developments, and changes in the business context. But what about the many opportunities beyond that? Have you systematically checked them?

The basic idea of business model sophistication is that your current business opens the door to new, secondary business opportunities. These opportunities will depend on your primary business, but will involve new partners (so-called valueholders) and create new revenues streams and/or decrease costs. We will discuss five business model sophistication strategies:

  • Uncover potential functions of your products
  • Identify strategic benefits for third parties
  • Take advantage of economies of scope
  • Utilise cross-selling opportunities
  • Involve users and the ‘crowd’

The course will focus on the specification of these strategies, where to find and how to develop them. We will also investigate how sophisticated business models can be constructed over time and used as strategic options to stay competitive. 

Applying research to specific business models
This course is bridging theory and practice. Seminal examples will be used to explain the underlying concept of business model sophistication. The focus is on the application and how you can put these strategies into practice to develop successful secondary business opportunities.

Who should attend?

This course is relevant for managers with strategic decision making competences. The business model sophistication framework is relevant for companies of all sizes, age and applicable for both manufacturing and service companies.

Depending on the size of your company, it might be advisable that several of your employees join the course as this will enable you to apply the strategies to different aspects of your business. 


Associate Professor Peter Kesting’s research focuses on business model innovation, currently with a specific focus on employee-driven innovation in China. He has also co-founded three startups. Furthermore, Peter is interested in how to become a better negotiator.

Associate Professor Franziska Günzel-Jensen’s research focuses on business model development, entrepreneurial decision making as well as innovation in public organisations. Franziska has advised startups with very diverse backgrounds as a board member and consultant.

Together, Peter Kesting and Franziska Günzel-Jensen have published the well-received article “SMEs and new ventures need business model sophistication”, which will build the basis for this course. 


Part 1: What is business model sophistication? Introduction to the central concepts of this course - business model, business model sophistication and valueholders; Discussion about their relevance for competitiveness.

Part 2: Business model sophistication strategies Introduction to 5 business model sophistication strategies: from ‘Uncover potential functions of your products’ to ‘Involve users and the crowd’; Tools for uncovering and developing secondary business opportunities in your business; Applying the business model sophistication strategies to your business.

Part 3: Business model sophistication dynamics How can business model sophistication strategies be used to stay competitive over time and to develop new business opportunities? Developing a roadmap for your business.