Photograph of Kay Plantes

Kay Plantes is an MIT-trained economist, business strategy consultant, columnist and author. Business model innovation, strategic leadership and smart economic policies are her professional passions. A former Madison, WI resident, Kay now resides in San Diego, CA. The views on her blog are not those of her employer, IBM.

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October 23rd, 2013

Are your business model strategy and marketing communications aligned?

A dangerous canyon often arises between business model strategy and marketing. Separate roles, meetings, deliverables, timetables, personalities and consultancies exist on each side of the divide. When business strategy and marketing execution move forward independently – as they often do – spin, distrust, poor customer experiences and commoditization result. A classic case of this problem […]


June 20th, 2012

Reviving local retail through business model innovation

In the new Broadway-bound musical Hands on a Hardbody, ten East Texans seek to reverse their hard luck lives in a competition to win a Nissan truck. In one song, Used To Be, the contestants lament the loss of independent stores across Texas. “How will we know when we’re home,” the cast croons, “in a […]


November 14th, 2011

“Occupy Wall Street” should applaud social enterprise business model innovation.

As “Occupy Wall Street” protests capitalism’s greed, social enterprise leaders are thankfully tapping the power of market forces to address capitalism’s thorniest social issues. In 2000, Gerald Chertavian founded the social enterprise Year Up to address the “huge waste of human capital” he observed in poor neighborhoods as a Big Brothers-Big Sisters mentor. Year Up […]


September 7th, 2011

Professional service firms need business model innovation too.

Commodity is likely the last word that attorneys, accountants, marketing agencies and other professional service providers would use to describe their services and knowledge. Their advanced degrees and personalized, professional approaches suggest just the opposite. But professional services are becoming commoditized because clients increasingly see the outcome of a service as standard; that is, differences […]


August 31st, 2011

10 questions to stimulate business model innovation ideas

The road just got rockier and the atmosphere foggier. Stock market turmoil, coupled with continued uncertainty about federal fiscal policy and the Euro, creates additional challenges for every business owner and leadership team. The risk of a double dip recession just increased. At the same time, significant liquidity resting in investor and company balance sheets […]


February 2nd, 2011

Five Indicators of Broken Industry Business Models

How do you know when an industry is broken and radical change is undoubtedly on its way? The question is an important one for established and start-up companies. Industry transformations offer rich opportunities and devastating risks. Take the case of college education. I’ve seen enormous progress in my daughter’s writing and critical thinking skills since […]


December 16th, 2010

Lifestyle company business model strategy

The table lacked butter and olive oil, purposefully. So began my meal Saturday night in Orlando Florida at Seasons 52, a fresh dining concept from Darden Restaurants, parent company to Olive Garden and other restaurant chains. Nothing on the Seasons 52 menu has over 475 calories, a requirement that leads to guiltless mini-desserts. The upscale […]


September 27th, 2010

Why Blockbuster failed and World Class will win

“We create shapes,” the written message on the outdoor ad for World Class Fitness Center works strategically, tactically and creatively. Aligning these three elements creates business model victories. Business model strategy. Too often leaders leave the answer to “What business are we in?” to company history, industry practices, management desires or serendipity. What a tragic […]


May 19th, 2010

Saving Newspapers Before Google Rescues The Day

Media provides a great case study of creative destruction, to coin Joseph Schumpeter’s term for capitalism’s ability to destroy while creating anew. Yet even massive creative destruction will not reverse the basic economic principal that customers buy based on highest perceived value, where value is perceived benefits less the perceived costs to acquire those benefits. […]


March 10th, 2010

Why Capital Bank’s Attributes Fail as a Value Promise

Last week’s post talked about the vital alignment between your brand platform and your value promise. A great example of getting the two concepts of brand and value promise wrong comes in a series of ads that Madison’s Capital Bank presents in the daily Wisconsin State Journal. Each ad contains a picture of one of […]