Helping people handle great organizational changes

Michael N. Wilkens has succesfully taught and advised in business development for Erhvervshus Fyn

Erhvervshus Fyn is a public institution of commerce helping private enterprises in the Funen area with three things. It offers neutral sparring. It helps with co-financing, and it gives access to a number of business clusters. Niels Erik Haug-Larsen is the manager of Erhvervshus Fyn. He is responsible for the success of the three legs of the organization – sparring, co-financing and business clusters.

Lessons in the Business Model Canvas concept

Michael N. Wilkens has helped Erhvervshus Fyn in two ways. In Erhvervshus Fyn, they have used Business Model Canvas as one out of two primary business tools. They have used it to help enterprises understand their business.

In this regard, Michael N. Wilkens has thought the consultants of the organization how to properly use the tool so they could show the members how to use it.

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Niels Erik Haug-Larsen

If some businesses had a need to work more thoroughly with their business model, Erhvervshus Fyn has referred to PinPointers.

As Niels Erik Haug-Larsen explains: “If somebody needs to go further in that direction, we pass the task on to someone who knows how to work with it – and in this regard, Michael is without a doubt the best.”

Mission Model Canvas

However, this is not the only way Michael N. Wilkens has helped Erhvervshus Fyn. During the process, Michael N. Wilkens and Erhvervshus Fyn has been in continuous dialogue about the possibilities of collaboration in relation to business development of their own organization. Unfortunately, Erhvervshus Fyn didn’t quite feel that Business Model Canvas was the right tool for them.

“We cannot develop our organization in that way,” Niels Erik Haug-Larsen tells.

Makes Sense For Us Niels Erik

In so far as Erhvervshus Fyn isn’t a regular commercial company, they didn’t consider Business Model Canvas to be suitable for them.

“But it was actually Michael who told us that we weren’t the only one in the world who had that problem. There was an American who had scratched himself in the neck and had come up with a solution – initially, it was meant for the American military – but Michael thought that it was relevant for us as well,” he tells.

The American that Michael referred to is Steve Blank. He has developed a tool which he calls Mission Model Canvas. It is an adapted version of Business Model Canvas, now specially tailored for mission driven organizations – that is, organizations that are driven by a mission rather than profit.

“We sat down and took a look at it, and I said: this actually makes sense.”

Merger between two institutions

Back then, Erhvervshus Fyn were facing a merger between two organizations – the former Væksthus Syddanmark and Udvikling Fyn. Faced with this challenge, they chose to make use of Mission Model Canvas.

We Used It ... Niels Erik

They used the tool to describe the different departments in Erhvervshus Fyn. It gave them a better understanding of their individual target beneficiaries. Furthermore, it helped them understand what buy-in they needed and how they deploy their products and services. At last, the tool gave them a better understanding of the impact that each department were supposed to make in the future.

“We used it to align all our departments in the house,” Niels Erik Haug-Larsen tells.

Since then, Erhvervshus Fyn has repeatedly made use of Mission Model Canvas whenever they have faced organizational changes.

“Mission Model Canvas makes sense for us because it fits the type of organization that we are,” he tells.

“In two hours, we are able to create a full model explaining how a hub is supposed to function so that it fits into our structure and a national structure. The fact that you can get together and make something like that in such a short period of time is only possible because everybody in the house speaks the same language. We weren’t able to do that without the tool,” he explains.

A professional process

Niels Erik Haug-Larsen is happy about his collaboration with Michael N. Wilkens. Not least in terms of business development.

During The Years Niels Erik

“Michael is professional. He is well-prepared, and he has a great knowledge. Actually, this is what I appreciate the most. If you are in a position where you are in doubt about whether you should do this or that, he is capable of digging down into a large base of experience – which makes you feel safe. He doesn’t just master the theory behind the tool. He also has a very extensive empirical knowledge which he puts on top of it,” tells Niels Erik Haug-Larsen.

“You have a process manager who helps you onto the right path."

According to Niels Erik Haug-Larsen, Michael N. Wilkens always manages to create a great business development process. It is one of the areas which is his greatest strength. The reason is that he doesn’t give answers.

“He masters the art of not closing the process. You have the feeling that you are being helped and that you are being supported. You aren’t directed,” he tells. “To create a room where people can use their insights without crossing any boundaries – that’s really an art. During the years, I have participated in many facilitations – and there is few who master it as well as Michael do.”


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