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Innovation changes of business models in digital economy: conceptual foundations, research directions and success factors

Priority areas of development: economics
Department: Laboratory of Network Organizational Forms
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research

Definition of the foundation of innovative business model changes in digital transformation.  In order to achieve this goal certain research and data collection were completed. Some papers were composed using the previous research data:

  • Research of the variety of innovation changes in business models: identification of the classification criteria;

  • Value chain actor interest allignment as the basis for innovative changes in a business model.

The following research tasks were identified:

  • Research of the role and position of a dominant value chain member in the context of the business model innovative changes in digital transformation;

  • Identification of the main types of innovation changes and their evaluation criteria;

  • Value chain interests’ alignment as the foundation of the innovative changes in business models.


The research project used a set of methods, including inductive and deductive methods, statistical analysis methods, the method of case study research, the survey method and mathematics modeling.

Empirical base of research

This project is based on various sources of information including surveys of top and middle management, individual entrepreneurs, official statistics, materials of international organizations and think tanks as well as previously collected data.

Results of research

The novelty of the research and the most important results are as follows.

The first goal of the project was defined as “research of the variety of innovation changes in business models: identification of the classification criteria” theoretical foundations of the innovative business models were identified as well as classifications of digital innovations for business models in the pharmaceutical market. Types of innovations were identified based on the analysis of business models from six markets (Russia, Ukrane, Thailand, Mexico, Israel and Chile), with particular conditions for the business model success. Doctors,          pharmacy and patients were analyzed as the key value chain actors of the Pharma business model.

Analytical model developed during this stage allows to attribute particular market conditions (value chain features) and adaptation tools. As the results it is possible to define certain business model change patterns that emerge due to the digital technology adaptation.

Key types of the innovation changes in business models were identified through the value chain evolution analysis. These changes were manifested by service platforms introduction as an independent value chain element.  This research is focused on P2P platforms typical for sharing economy. Based on the analysis conducted a complex model for failure recovery based on organizational, regulatory and marketing tools that allow agent coordination and control by the platform itself.

Finally, the variety innovative business model changes was identified in the direct sales market. In this section key changes in the direct sales business model were identified. Following goals were accomplished:

  • Review of the global and Russian direct sales markets;

  • Identification of consumer trends impacting direct sales business model;

  • Description of changes in the direct sales business model.

Second section of the research project included the following tasks. An interdisciplinary team of the researchers was formed by the joint effort of School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University (A. Grigoriev, K. Geyskens, N. Holtrop) and HSE Strategic Marketing Department (Nedelko A.U.). The team modelled customer orientation on healthy consumption, business goals and government policies. The model allowed to set optimal produce prices as well as tax rates for unhealthy products. In this section key factors of healthy and unhealthy products were identified. As the result it was shown that diverse interests of the market actors should be aligned to promote regulations for the unhealthy food products. An interest alignment model was developed in which optimal pricing and taxation rates can be identified.

Three-level optimization model allows to align diverse interests of the participants including State, Business and Consumers.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

A pattern selection model for the business model transformation was developed based on the pharmaceutical market analysis. It enables managers and shareholders to select the most fitting ways of their business model transformation based on the particular market conditions.  

A value chain interest alignment model was developed to calculate optimal state tax and pricing policy for the food market.


Zobnina M. R., Коротков А. В., Rozhkov A. Structure, Challenges and Opportunities for Development of Entrepreneurial Education in Russian Universities // Foresight and STI Governance. 2019. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 69-81. doi