Manufacturing business model study

We are excited to be partnering with The Centre for Process Innovation which is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to develop a business model programme for their business advisors. As part of our research on process and flexible manufacturing business models, we used this manufacturing report by KPMG which we wanted to share with you. Happy reading!

Six tips from industry experts on Business Model Innovation for the digital & creative industries.

Advances in technology have disrupted the creative marketplace. What customers value and will pay for has changed and companies who don’t evaluate their existing business models risk losing their relevance.

There is a lot of discussion around reinventing ‘business models’ and ‘strategy’ but there is a lack of clarity about what this means and even less about how to apply it.
So how does this impact the creative industries, which have undergone more change than most sectors over the last 10 years?

The part time Business Model Theme Champion role, funded by and on behalf of the Creative Industries KTN, focused on transferring current business model practice to the creative industries, using that to shape and inform business model innovation and examine how businesses can better articulate new and emergent business models.

This document is based on my work as the Theme Champion for Business Models for the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network.It is not meant as a scientific document or academic paper but a combination of a summary of my learnings from both my year’s tenure, as well as the thoughts and experiences from those who kindly attended workshops and roundtables or were consulted as experts or as leading companies in their field. My intention is to start a conversation around business model innovation in the creative and digital sectors and for the recommendations to be explored further.

Melnorman bizmodelslearnings from melnorman

Are you looking to grow your company? Check out the GrowthAccelerator Scheme



We are very excited to announce that Mel Norman is now a registered and approved Growth Coach for GrowthAccelerator, providing advice to help ambitious businesses achieve rapid, sustainable growth.

That is a mouthful, but what does it mean? 

The GrowthAccelerator can provide companies with  new routes to investment , strategy  and business models to achieve their full potential and grow their business. By being a Growth Coach we can provide subsided tailored support for companies, part funded by the government, to help you with your business model, building strategy, and creating new revenue streams. 

Find out if you are eligable  to be a part of it at



37 Signals, business acronyms and screw drivers part 2

I wanted to share with you another tool that can help you with your value proposition.

Those of you that have seen the Business Model Canvas know that it is a simple tool which allows you to map out your current business model and then modify it. It contains a number of boxes, including partnerships, revenue streams, delivery, costs, key activities and key resources. Two of the biggest and most important are the Value proposition and Customer Segments boxes. Osterwalder, Pigneur and many other business experts believe you can’t even think of revenue until you have figured out, what the value is and to whom are you offering it. This is the DNA of your business model and everything else comes after this.

37 signals, business acronyms and screwdrivers

​I want to lift the lid up on a business acronym ‘Value Propositions’. In the creative industries we tend not to be a fan of ‘business speak’ as it can appear generic and irrelevant or something that only corporate companies should have on their agenda.

However, ‘value propositions’ is one of the most important ones out there as it is shapes the centre of any business and is the key to growth. I wanted to share with you the latest thoughts and application of this, as once understood this could be one of the single and most important things you can uncover about your company.

What is it?

Find out what 1700 CEO's think & how it can help your business

Recently, IBM released their latest Global study based on face to face interviews with 1,700 chief executive officers in 64 countries. I wanted to share it with you as it gives an interesting overview of the opportunities and challenges of running a 21st Century business.

IBM produce a study every two years, their latest report ‘Leading Through Connections’ states that CEO’s, for the first time, see technology to be the key driver that is driving change in their organisations. Company execs are now realising the impact of social and digital and how it is changing supply chains and relationships between partners, employees and customers.

Here is a summary of some of the key findings from the report:

What's the story of your business?

What's the story of your business?

If you were to attend a creative or digital conference, across any industry the mention of business models would at some point waft from tweets and discussions throughout seminars, panel discussions and networking breaks. These may include thoughts about how business models need to change, or what business models are disrupting industries.

However, if you were to ask a selection of folk 'What is a business model?’ they might suggest it is about pricing or the exploitation of IP or what a customer wants. The answer to the question is all of the above and more. The standard definition is a business model explains how a company creates, delivers, and captures value.

In this blog I want to lift the lid up on the term ‘business models' and look at what it really means. 

Creative Leaders Round table discussion to be continued


A few weeks ago as part of the Theme Champion role I put on a round table discussion about business models in the digital creative industry for creative leaders. Some of the companies attended included: Mint DigitalPokeNixonMcinnesGolant Media Ventures, Moo, BBC, Putitout.  We had apologises from Aardmann, Keo Films, and Berg who through illness and urgent work matters couldn't make it but would like to be involved in other activities. 

We chatted over dinner about what digital entrepreneur need to support them, the challenge of developing a business as well as running the day to day activities. We also discussed the current level of understanding about business models, how to move from a gun for hire company to creating and selling IP.

All the companies mentioned they were interested in continuing the relationship and discussion and so we will be running another one over drinks in a month or so. The format would be we would have a short talk by an expert, another by one of the companies who would be attending then a chat. If you are interested in joining us please drop me a line at

Slides from Digital 2012

Now that I am back from Digital 2012 in sunny Glasgow ( yes - believe it or not it was!)  I though it would be worthwhile to share with you my slides for the event.

Interactive Scotland asked me to run a workshop on how you can accelerate sales and generate income (hence the title) for their digital and creative sectors. We had around 180 people at the workshop and in approximately one hour we whizzed through how a company can apply a few new business development techniques to increase the amount of customers they have. Thanks to Alisdair and the Interactive Scotland Team for making me very welcome and for running a fantastic event. I look forward to returning soon.


Creative Industries KTN announce the ‘Leap Day Business Challenge’ as part of Social Media Week

Calling all company owners, join us for the Business Leap Day Challenge. Spend your extra leap day this year to review the way you are doing business with our experts in order to take your business to the next level.

Why we are doing this..

A recent study by IBM interviewed 1500 CEOs from around the world and revealed that nearly all of them are adapting their business models - two thirds are implementing extensive innovations, with more than 40% re-defining them to be more collaborative. 

This is aimed at company owners and CEOs who are successful, but who would like to stay ahead of the curve to secure their future. Most companies are re-evaluating the way they do business to keep up with technology disruptions. Join them to review your business model

First bloggage in new role as Theme Champion for Business Models Creativektn

Two months of meetings, deliberations, and consultations have come up with the following;ideas, themes which will be weaved throughout the year for my new part time role as Theme Champion of Business Models and Growth. I’m really excited by this theme as it offers a lots;of opportunity to creative and digital company business owners and has been a passion of mine for many years.

Why is there a need for this role?

It is particularly sad to watch big global giants like Kodak who were the pioneers of digital photography, fall by the way side. Companies are not only having to change and adapt to;survive, not only having to change their products or and services but there the DNA, at the;heart of their business. There is no constant. A recent study by IBM interviewed 1500 CEOs;from around the world and found out that nearly all CEOs are adapting their business model.

Facebook Marketing Conference


Last week I worked with Chinwag to programme the first Chinwag Insight event, held in Covent Garden. We had over 30 speakers from brands and agencies talking about their recent work on Facebook.

The conference focused on how Facebook links in with marketing strategy and we covered everything from the latest changes announced at the F8 to FB ads, pages, apps, metrics and more. 

For a summary of the event and links to all the slides go to

cc chinwag.

How to build a visionary company (part 1)

 Mention ‘vision and mission ‘to most people and you can see eyeballs role, it is corporate speak. If you have ever read some vision and mission statements you might have noticed that  they can verge from being entertaining and not in a good way, to being so dull that reading a company’s health and safety notice can be inspiring by comparison.

However, done right, both can be really valuable to your company, can sustain it for years to come, attract the right business and partners and maintain your relevance, irrespective of market changes.

This 2 part blog will look at:

  • How to build a visionary company - Create a company which will be here tomorrow
  • Mission Possible- Maintaining your relevance, by understanding one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your business.

Why is this all this important?

How to build a collaborative event

Guest blog for Chinwag.


Building a collaborative event is not for the faint hearted. Many event producer has run for the hills when faced with a large committee of partners let alone trying to lead a large team of stakeholders.  If, however, you are brave and follow a few guidelines the benefits of collaboration can be mind-blowing and much bigger than you could ever manage on your own.

Here is a guide based on my learnings directing Social Media Week (SMW) the London Games Fringe & Onemedia.  During SMW we had over 53 event partners, 50+ venues, 110 events and 40 experts on the advisory board. All of this was accomplished in under 16 weeks and here is how:

Choose passionate people to be part of your A team.  More specifically, make sure they are passionate about what you want the event to be about!  They have to be motivated to work for free, donate time and problem solve throughout the process of creating the event not just at the beginning.

Know what you want to achieve – What are you asking people to buy into? You need to have a clear vision, whether you create that yourself then find people who also share it or whether you build it as a group, it has to be a strong vision that does not change. How you get there will change day by day but you all need to head in the same direction.

Some people will contribute more than others , it is easy to get frustrated at this but try and remember  80/20 rule  10% + will be very active and 10%+ will be pretty active, the rest will contribute in their own way and can still make a good contribution i.e contact for a venue, a speaker suggestion also unless you are paying them wades of cash, they are doing this voluntarily.

Hand over responsibilities- probably the hardest thing to do, let go of some control, especially if you have not seen the results in the time you expected, but you need to let others have some ownership. It is easy to think, I will do this myself, but then you will create a habit of picking up the pieces. Co-ownership  and responsibility is good and people will surprise you, mostly in a positive way.

It might take longer to see results- as the group of people learn to work together and share ideas, things can look a bit chaotic for a while. Breathe through it, when it starts to come together it will grow and grow…

Create a fun environment – lots can happen virtually but there is no beating a physical meeting fuelled by food and/or drink. You might not be paying people but you can certainly make being a part of your event enjoyable!

Have a collective online system /space– when you can’t meet but need to brainstorm, solve problems. Make sure that everyone knows how to use it as that can be a barrier to entry.

Share achievements – When things go well, you can’t take all the credit for it, share achievements and also share when things aren’t going so well.

Photo curtsey of Brownslakeaquaducks

Why battery farming employees is killing your business.


Yes this is a picture of a seemingly naked man with chickens. Why, you may ask. Well, am not sure about the lack of clothes and have my fingers crossed that the bubble coming out of his mouth does not contain some expletives but I wanted a picture to represent the battery farming of employees’.

A friend confided in me the other day about his job (let’s call him Sid) and how it the company he was working for had decided to deal with the current economic changes. Sid mentioned that like many organisations in the current climate, his were trying to cut spending;  they merged with another organisation, froze pay, and cut costs. Nothing new there unfortunately, but the thing that shocked me the most was the other conditions that he was working under:

Being kept in the dark- Employees  at his organisation were not informed of decisions that affected them. They were given very little notice when the company merged and some of the staff were told the week before Christmas that a letter would arrive on Christmas Eve letting them know if they had a job or not.

No basic rights – New rules came into play if you are sick, you lose pay for the days that you miss and you will receive £30 fines if you are 10 minutes late for work no matter how late you stay in the evening. New responsibilities are added to their jobs, without consultation, and they are told do it or lose your job.

No room to grow/develop - Not surprising, what was originally an environment for productivity, creativity and laughter has now been replaced by fear, stress and doing only what you need to do. Sid’s colleagues are scared to say or do anything for fear of losing their jobs. 

Obviously, this is only one side of the story and yes, companies are having tough times but there are things that you can do even when times are tough to improve the way you work and become sustainable.

How to free range your employees

Ask for help and listen - Each year this organisation would make thousands of brochures that no one ever used.  In Sid’s office alone, the cost for this ran into 5 figures, enough to pay for a person for a year. As someone on the front line, he knew what was working and what wasn’t. Let’s imagine that each employee would have at least one idea to cut costs or improve productivity, what could that do to transform an organisation?

Collective growth – Apologises for continuing with the chicken analogy but people, like chickens, are sociable, intelligent animals which need to be free and grow. By giving them space to collaborate, to jointly solve problems and build a workplace that is strong enough to overcome problems will improve moral, create a stronger culture and create ownership.

Be open – Even after all of the above has been taken into consideration, there still might be a need to make difficult decisions but do it openly, by involving  your employees.

We are in the 21st not the 19th Century but some practices are very antiquated and until companies make changes it will destroy their business.

Please feel free to share and post some of your stories or companies that are behaving badly or those that are being really innovative with their employees. By Mellissa Norman

Picture by @modalaci some rights reserved. 

Battery Farming employees is killing your business

BEYOND THE PITCH – Top tips on how to increase your Business sales 7TH JULY - SOHO


Pitching is only one 7th of the process that you will go through with clients to win business. Learn the other 6 steps to:

 Increase your incoming business.

 Overcome the ‘don’t have the budget’ objection, without lowering your fees.

Cut the time it takes to make a sale.

Where in the heart of Soho

When - July 7th  9.30-5.30pm

                                               Price- £300 early bird discount before 24th June, £395 afterwards. (Price includes tasty grub.)

  Click here to read reviews from previous workshops     

 Who is it for? ‘Beyond the Pitch’ is for you if you have to pitch, write proposals or approach new clients. You are an accountant director, sales director or company owner who is responsible for business development or a creative who is involved in the pitch process. This is a tailored workshop to sharpen your skills and take you from good to great.    Book now for Beyond the Pitch

Beyond the Pitch’ is specially designed for our industry enabling you to increase the value of the business you can bring in and reduce the time it takes to do so. Most pitching workshops just focus on the pitch itself and the time you spend in front of a potential client.  This is an intensive workshop, on the whole sales process, giving you the skills to sell ethically by focusing on your client’s needs. 

This is a 1 day workshop that will limit your time out of the office. It is interactive so you will get chance to practice, ask questions and apply your learning to your day to day activities. We will also have some lovely food to fuel your brain cells. 

 By the end of the workshop, you will be able to:

  •  Apply a ‘7 stage sales framework’ to your business development activities to increase turnover
  •  Apply the sales process to face to face meetings, phone calls and digital platforms.
  •  Understand how to deal with objections and difficult clients
  •  Learn the different ways of improving sales, and building a lasting relationship with your client.
  • Mellissa Norman - Mel has worked in traditional and digital media over 16 years and won the ‘Socially Responsibly’ category, part of the 360 degree competition at MIPtv. She has also worked as a sales consultant with over 50 different companies including BBC, Npower, NixonMcinnes and Business in the community to develop their ethical sales and business development process.

    Mel recently directed Social Media Week in London, with over 110 events along with partners Nokia, Microsoft and Market Sentinel; We are Social, Brightlemon and Propel amongst others.  Mel has been trained as a trainer and tends not to use jargon and big words for things that are, in fact, quite simple.

    Press here for more info

     Book now for Beyond the Pitch


    What can Socrates teach us about Social Business?

    As well as being immortalised as the guy with the beard on ’Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ We all know Socrates is a Greek philosopher but what is less known is that his innovative approaches are still making a mark in today’s digital world.

    As I was writing this blog I researched some links and noticed a few other blog posts looking at Socrates and how his thoughts can be applied to Social Media.  For this blog I wanted to focus on  ‘social business’ instead which can also learn something from his methods.

    His main technique was not to give the answers to his pleading students and followers but to ask them questions instead. He found that they learnt more this way. Socrates once said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others."  In face his methods were so powerful that he was reportedly sentenced to death for ‘corrupting the youth’. Luckily for a lot businesses today Hemlock has gone out of fashion and we as a society, we have embraced his ideas and are implementing them more than ever.

    Socrates’s inventive questioning methods can be used today in as a device for building social businesses. Here are 3 ways that it can impact and improve your collaborative business:

    Innovation has been described as improving product, service or business model   . Due to the current climate companies are being more proactive with innovation, rather than wait till business starts to tail off many are now thinking how can they do things differently?

     Innovation starts with either a dissatisfaction or a motivation often with a question;   ‘What if…?’ ‘How could we improve our service if we could ….?’  ‘How can we redesign ‘this’ for the 21st century?’  This is a process you can do with both your employees and your customers. User-centred design has been common for a number of years in certain sectors of the business world and increasingly is going mainstream. Don’t wait till things stop working, continuously think how you can make your business better. 

    CRM: There is a lot of very good bloggage about brands listening to their customers, finding out what they want, what they are not happy so I am not going to go into a lot of details here about that. It is common knowledge that a good social CRM strategy can uncover  & resolve problems quickly,  find positives, what is working well and what is not working.  However, an even braver but effective way you can work with your customers is by asking the questions up front  ‘How can we do better?’ .'Tell us about your experiences with our company..’  Being open enough to ask for the good, the bad and the ugly, if the proper processes are in place, can really improve the way your business works.

    Business strategy - What is less often talked about is how to listen to your employees and create a collaborative business strategy. Building environments both on and off, asking the right questions, can enable your organisation to work more effectively

    Just like Socrates, who believes ‘I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.'  Smart CEO’s and Managing  Directors are beginning to realise this and are seeking answers by asking questions to their employees as well as their customers as the knowledge and problem solving capabilities exist in every corner of their company.  Some of the companies that employ collaborative approaches include Ericsson, Cisco and Hewlett Packard.

    Hand in hand with all questioning techniques  is active listening. There is little point asking questions if you are not listening. It sounds easy enough but anyone who has had to listen to a toddler for long periods of time knows how exhausting listening properly can be. What you are listening to is what is being said, how it is being said and what is not.  Employed together both questioning and listening can be a powerful twosome that can prolong the life of a company and make the old man with the beard proud. ‘Party on dudes!’

    picture by Ian W Scott 


    We are going to need a bigger board.

    It has been nearly a month since Social Media Week has finished and the paperwork has been wrapped up, to do lists have been completed and we have already started thinking about next year.

    Sam will be doing some serious data analysis on the results with his calculator and Sharpie fuelled by caffeine, cupcakes and retro sweets but I realised that I had not written a blog since Christmas so thought this was a perfect time to catch up and summarise the last few months.

    In our second staff meeting of the year we starred at our Blue Peter style board (made by the lovely Lauren) and it became clear that SMW was going to be even bigger than expected.

    It’s not that our estimates had been conservative, we had big plans for this year and hoped to achieve, in  four months,  50 events in total, five of our own, 45 with other event organisers, with 5,000 people attending throughout the week and we wanted to raise enough sponsorship to make it all free.

    The end results blew us away and being a small team at Chinwag we literally could not have done it without all of you. Using the principles of Social Media only works if you have  a community of amazing companies and individuals, with oodles of passion and belief.

    Overall there were 110 events, 12 designed by Chinwag and a whopping 95 created and delivered with love by our 54 event partners including DellDutch EmbassyBritish LibraryBBCChannel 4,LikeMindsViadeoWe Are SocialtechMAP,Ogilvy.

    44% of events were put on by digital, traditional and social media agencies the rest were a variety of companies, organisations and individuals from all sectors.

    8,500 tickets weresnapped up and with8,000 online viewers watching the livestream of the event. Social Media Week London (#smwldn) trended every dayon Twitter surfing the wave of tweets across all the events.

    Event formats were more varied than ever from the traditional round table, panel discussions, networking events to alternative formats; unconferences, huddles, a pop-up farm and a pop-up shop.

    Over 50 amazing venues across London generously donated space including Tate BritainThe GuardianDesign CouncilDaily TelegraphIABThe HubHSBCWahaca,EHS 4DTalkTalk as well as many more.

    The topics covered ranged across a large selection of industries from music, games, mobile, public sector, broadcast, charity, museums & galleries, sport, radio, business, recruitment, journalism and theatre.

    Throughout the week, our global and city sponsors Nokia performed random acts of kindness in London as well as other cities around the world giving out free phones and also tickets to sold out events. They were a fantastic city sponsor and were happy to get stuck in, contribute, share and enable connections across the week with#nokiaconnects. So a big thank you to them and our other sponsors, event partners, venues and media partners and all of you who participated creating the biggest SMW London to date!

    We want to tell the full story of the week and we’d love to hear your stories and experiences, so together we can collectively document what happened. Tell us what you learnt, who you met, deals you did, what inspired you. It would be fantastic if you could share your with us and have the opportunity to win some lovely Kodak cameras with Share buttons!

    Leave your stories in the comments below or email them to, if you are feeling shy.

    A collaborative Christmas

    This Sunday I had the day off nursing a persistent cough. For the last few weeks I have been burying my head in the snow pretending that it is not Christmas. Realising I needed an attitude shift, I decided to watch ‘White Christmas’, the old Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film from the 50’s to put me in the holiday spirit. A long standing phobia to musicals, based on a brief but terrifying pre-teen experience at my local theatre in Stevenage means I always fast forward through the musical numbers to focus on the story. As I watched Rosemary Clooney tap dance at high speed across the stage waving a feathered fan, my mind wandered.. For those of you who have forgotten the story. Bing and Danny decide to, in five days, to put on a show, in an ailing ski lodge to improve its takings after a snow drought. In order to make it happen, find the artists, get an audience, they used their networks, TV, phones, the resources of their time to put on a show of a life time.