Chair of Networked Business Models

(2015 - 2018)

About the Chair


For years, organizations have been run using a traditional linear value chain model. The role in the value chain would typically determine the potential revenues and regulate the organization’s activities. Yet organizations no longer succeed today by limiting themselves to thinking in a linear way. Organizations’ interactions with partners and customers are iterative. Recent paradigm shifts (e.g. product-to-service value proposition, digital transformation, Big Data, knowledge economy, business ecosystem) forced us to question a number of traditional business models across industries. What are the next breakthrough business solutions for a post-Friedman world where a firm’s bottom line is not the only indicator of success?

In this context, ESSEC Business School and Mars Catalyst (internal think tank of Mars Inc.) have embarked upon a pioneering, multi-year research partnership to explore business model innovation in the knowledge economy, with a specific focus on the transformation of linear value chain to ecosystem business model. If the Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about capturing complexity and grand scale, we need business models and methodologies for business that are practical enough to describe existing ecosystems and to also design new ones.


  • To understand whether a shift in paradigm from the traditional linear value chain to an ecosystem business model is justified, specific shifts need to be marked. The most important is the extent to which this new paradigm is already manifested in economic and social exchanges, and, if so, how it operates in practice. What are the challenges it faces, and how does it promote holistic, measurable corporate prosperity across multiple forms of capital, including business performance?
  • To develop and pilot digital business models for a traditionally non-digital consumer goods company.
  • To contribute to new conceptual knowledge and understanding of how emerging ecosystem business models and the knowledge economy generate economic and social performance, including developing models, experimental pilots and metrics for evaluating effective governance, organizational practices and stakeholder benefits.
  • To develop business school curricula that will educate future leaders and owners of organizations in the principles of ecosystem business models and alternative, fundamentally mutual, ways of doing business. To this extent, the Chair has developed a close collaboration with Mars Catalyst/Economics of Mutuality and Saïd Business School, Oxford University on the research project called Mutuality in Business.