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#21—Alex Osterwalder: How Investing in Culture Ecosystems Leads to Innovation

#21—Alex Osterwalder: How Investing in Culture Ecosystems Leads to Innovation

Dr. Alexander (Alex) Osterwalder is one of the world’s most influential innovation experts, a leading author, entrepreneur, and in-demand speaker whose work has changed the way established companies do business and how new ventures get started.

Ranked No. 4 of the top 50 management thinkers worldwide, Alex is known for simplifying the strategy development process and turning complex concepts into digestible visual tools. Together with Yves Pigneur, he invented the Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas, and Business Portfolio Map—practical tools that are trusted by millions of business practitioners from leading global companies. And they really introduced into the strategy dialogue the idea that business models can be intentionally—and creatively—designed.

Strategyzer, Alex’s company, is on a mission to evolve large established companies so that they inspire and activate and liberate their employees to be innovators. They do this using online courses, applications, and technology-enabled platforms.

His books include the international bestseller Business Model Generation, Value Proposition Design, Testing Business Ideas, The Invincible Company, and the recently launched High-Impact Tools for Teams.

In this podcast he shares:

  • Why innovation MUST begin with your culture

  • Why if there were only ONE metric you should be tracking to unleash innovation, it should be your “innovation kill rate”

  • Real-world examples of large enterprises who have been able to transform into agile, innovate organizations, proving it CAN be done

  • __________________________________________________________________________________________

    "So there are now those outliers who have done exactly that. They invested in innovation, but it's not just the money, they gave innovation power and they created this ecosystem for exploration, with tons of failures. They hold up their failures—same thing as Amazon. They hold up their failures and say, "You can't succeed without failures, and the bigger you get, the bigger your failures. But you know that's the system you need to create for the winners to emerge. So, failure's never the goal, but it's an inevitable side consequence of exploration."

    -Alex Osterwalder


    Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Alex Osterwalder + The topic of today’s episode

    2:05—What is your definition of strategy?

    3:01—What got you interested in strategy?

    4:01—Could you explain a "dual culture"?

    5:50—What are the drivers of culture?

    8:09—What are you most well-known for?

    11:16—What should a CEO be encouraging to engage innovative behavior?

    14:30—What is the key lesson people should take away from the case studies you've described?

    16:20—What do most companies get wrong?

    18:07—What's a belief that you've changed your mind about?

    19:54—What are you working on now, and how can people engage with you?


    Additional Resources:

    Personal website:

    Strategyzer Website:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.