Transformational Business Models, Grand Challenges, and Social Impact

  • Ignasi Martí
Original Paper


The starting premise of this paper is that business models can transform social reality—sometimes to an extreme. Then, building on the concept of “grand challenges,” we argue that such transformations can be either positive or negative in nature (or both)—even in the case of business models designed to improve value not only economically but environmentally and socially as well. To further our understanding of the negative aspects, we introduced two conceptual categories of business model: those for oppression or depletion and exclusionary ones. We further argue that bringing the notion of grand challenges center-stage highlights four elements that can contribute to emerging research and inform practice on transformational business models. These elements are: participatory forms of architecture; multivocal inscriptions; scaffolding; and proximity (understood as a caring concern for the “other”). They are central components of what we name transformational business models.


Business models Social impact Grand challenges Exclusionary business models Business models for oppression and depletion Transformational business models 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emlyon Business SchoolEcullyFrance
  2. 2.ESADE, Ramon Llull UniversityBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.IAE Business SchoolPilarArgentina

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