At Euram 2012

July 5, 2012

Our paper “Business Model Ideation: An Experimental Approach For The Evaluation Of Team-Based Methods” has been presented at Euram 2012 by Friderike Hoffmann on Friday June 8th. The European Managment Conference took place in Rotterdam (Netherlands) this year.


Developing new business model ideas is a complex, ill-defined innovation task and among the core challenges for existing firms aiming to achieve sustainable success. Neither business model nor idea generation research has yet fully examined suitable methods to generate business model innovation ideas. We have conducted a comprehensive literature review and develop a model to examine the effectiveness of different methods for the generation of business model ideas. The model comprises both objective and subjective effectiveness measures. In a first empirical application of the model in an experimental setting, we have compared the effectiveness of the business model innovation canvas, collaborative sketching, and brainstorming to generate novel business model ideas. The initial results suggest that the model is suitable for comparing different methods: it discerns key indicators of effectiveness, important tradeoffs between quantity and quality of ideas, and between satisfaction and the ability to select the best idea.

The effectiveness of Knowledge Visualization in India – results preview

January 5, 2011

In our previous studies we have shown that knowledge visualization is helpful in facilitating meeting and communicating strategy. Is it so only in Europe?

We are now expanding our cross-cultural experiment to India. We compare the results of people exposed to a textual or visual content.

The results of over 200 subjects in India confirm our previous results, showing that visualizing strategy has a positive effect on behavioral intention. In particular, when people are exposed to a representation of the strategy in the form of a visual metaphor, they like it better and they are more committed to implement it, compared to simple text or a diagrammatic representation. We find the same result pattern all over Asia, while Europeans prefer diagrams.

So what? If you communicate your content (as for example strategy) with knowledge visualization instead of text, your audience will probably like the content better and thus to be more committed to it. If you are communicating to Indians you should prefer visual metaphors, rather than bullet-point text or linear diagrams (like a timeline).

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WEIRD people: cultural differences in reasoning style and visual perception

September 19, 2010

When we travel to exotic countries, especially developing nations, we often find the locals to be kind of weird. But let’s be honest, we are the weird ones, because we are the minority.

I was very glad to find that some scholars had the same thought, and just published their research on the dangers of relying on Western samples for generalizing to the human population. As I previously posted, there is evidence of differences in visual perceptions and decision making across cultures (see Nisbett, The Geography of Thought), but few scientist have been investigating the topic.

Luckily a new era seems about to start.
Nature and Science have been covering the topic, reporting the results of a study on “The weirdest people in the world” by Henrich, Heine & Norenzayan (Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 2010), where WEIRD stands for
societies. They show how the result of experiments conducted in the United States and other industrialized societies are not representative of the human population as a whole.
Of particular interest for Knowledge Visualization is the difference in visual perception and spatial cognition. For example the Muller-Lyer illusion (in the picture below) seems to be stronger for westerners than for small-scale traditional societies. Similarly, in most of comparative studies Westerners, and particularly Americans, “occupy the extreme end of the human distribution” (pg.5).

There seems to be a general trend toward an understanding of the need to consider non-western perspectives, as confirmed by the next Academy of Management meeting theme “West meets East”
Stay tuned for our forthcoming experimental results comparing Europe and Asia ;)

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Cross-cultural differences in the reception of conceptual visualization

November 13, 2009

These days I am conducting an experiment in Singapore to test if there are cross-cultural differences in the reception of various kinds of business visualizations, between Europe and Asia.

Despite the general belief that visualization is an international language, recent research (see The Geography of Thought by Nisbett) has demonstrated that there are relevant differences in the reception of images, between East Asia and Western countries.

It has not been easy to set up this experiment in a foreign institution with a considerably different working culture… it took several months and lots of adaptation but finally I got some data ! :)


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