[column] A head start through unique knowledge and competences

From a business model, we zoom in on the key resources building block. Why are key resources important? Because having unique knowledge and competences can contribute to a lasting sustainable competitive advantage. This will remain important for organizations not only now, but also in the future. We all see that changes follow each other quickly. Partly because of this, it is increasingly important for organizations to anticipate changes on the one hand and by wanting and being able to apply existing and new knowledge and competences on the other.

That is why it is good for an organization to make use of knowledge and competences from different generations

The model below shows four quadrants. This shows that an organization can make use of existing, but also of new knowledge and competences. For example, if we look at the ongoing digitization and platform business models, new knowledge is often also needed. That is why it is good for an organization to make use of knowledge and competences from different generations.

Key resources and Core Competences

From one of my previous literature reviews I looked at what authors have said about key resources and core competencies. Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur (2009) indicate that every business model requires key resources. These make it possible to create and deliver a value proposition, reach markets, maintain relationships with customer segments and earn income. According to Hamel and Prahalad (1990), a core competence is something unique that an organization can do well or to its advantage strategically. Houtgraaf and Bekkers (2010) also state that the basis for differentiation from competitors is often linked to the unique competencies that an organization has. It can be deduced from the foregoing that having unique knowledge and competences can contribute to the creation of a sustainable competitive advantage.

Importance of foresight

Since I have been giving (guest) lectures to full-time and part-time students since 2015, I have become increasingly fascinated by the insights from different Generations. This includes Generations Y (active on the internet) and Z (Digital era). If we take that up to the light of the changes, it is good to combine existing knowledge and competences with new ones. My view is that this can offer existing organizations new opportunities to master new technologies and that this can contribute to the changeability to become more agile as an organization. The literature also indicates that organizations should pay attention to future exploration.

Hamel and Prahalad (1990) indicate that it is fundamental for managers of organizations to answer the following questions:

1. What values ​​will we offer our customers in, say, ten years?

2. What new “knowledge and competences” (a combination of skills and technologies) will we need to develop or acquire that value?

3. What are the consequences of the way we treat our customers?


From a business model innovation it is important to make optimal use of existing and new knowledge and competences. Certainly to create and / or maintain a lasting sustainable competitive advantage. As an organization, therefore, regularly ask yourself, based on your future outlook, what knowledge and competence are required for your value proposition, distribution channels, customer relationships and income streams. After all, knowledge from different Generations is therefore valuable to innovate and to remain agile. And my motto is: “Developing knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge in multiples from different Generations gives power”!

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