Business Model Experimentation for Sustainability

  • Nancy M. P. BockenEmail author
  • Ilka Weissbrod
  • Mike Tennant
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 52)


Business experimentation is a key avenue for accelerating change for sustainability. In contrast to experimentation in natural sciences, benefitting from controlled situations, business experimentation aims to explore the diverse possibilities that a business could create value from, or understand what works in which particular situations in a real life business context. While at present most popular with start-ups, this paper argues that large businesses can also find inspiration in business experimentation to develop sustainable business models and accelerate positive change for sustainability. Five illustrative cases are included of business experimentation for sustainability by focusing on pivots (modifications) in the business model. This paper only scratches the surface of the potential impactful new research field of business (model) experimentation for sustainability. Future work on sustainable business experimentation for start-ups and mature businesses is viewed as a powerful future research avenue to accelerate change in industries.


Business experimentation Lean start up Corporate sustainability Radical innovation Disruptive innovation Sustainable entrepreneurship 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy M. P. Bocken
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ilka Weissbrod
    • 3
  • Mike Tennant
    • 3
  1. 1.Industrial Design EngineeringDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Manufacturing, Department of EngineeringUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental Policy, Faculty of Natural SciencesImperial College LondonLondonUK

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