Erhvervshus Fyn is a public institution of commerce helping private enterprises in the Funen area with three things. It offers impartial sparring and helps with co-financing and it gives access to a number of business clusters in Funen. 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.
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 companies understand their business.
In that respect, Michael N. Wilkens has trained the consultants of the organization in how to use the tool so they could show the members how to use it.
Niels Erik Haug-Larsen
If a company needed to work more thoroughly with its business models, 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 Michael is undoubtedly the most qualified advisor.”
However, this is not the only way in which Michael N. Wilkens has helped Erhvervshus Fyn. During the process, Michael N. Wilkens and Erhvervshus Fyn have been in continuous dialogue about the possibilities of collaboration in relation to business development of their own organization. Unfortunately, Erhvervshus Fyn did not 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.
Since Erhvervshus Fyn is not an ordinary commercial company, they did not consider Business Model Canvas to be suitable for them.
“However, it was actually Michael who told us that we were not the only one in the world with 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 to whom Michael is referring 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 really good sense.”
At that time, Erhvervshus Fyn was facing a merger of two organizations – the former Væksthus Syddanmark and Udvikling Fyn. Faced with this challenge, they chose to use the Mission Model Canvas.
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 to understand what buy-in they needed and how they deploy their products and services. Finally, the tool also gave them a better understanding of the impact which each department was supposed to strive for.
“We used it to align all of our departments in the house,” tells Niels Erik Haug-Larsen.
Afterwards, 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 explains.
“In two hours, we are able to map a full model explaining how a hub is supposed to function so that it also fits into our structure and a national structure. The fact that you can get together and make something like this in such a short period of time is only possible because everybody in the house speaks the same language. We were not able to do that without the tool,” he says.
Niels Erik Haug-Larsen is happy about his collaboration with Michael N. Wilkens. Not least in terms of business development.
“Michael is a 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 question 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 does not 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. This is one of the areas which is his greatest strength. The reason is that he does not 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 but you are not led,” he tells. “To create a room in which people can use their insights without crossing any boundaries – that is actually an art form. During the years, I have participated in many facilitation sessions but only a few masters it as well as Michael does.”
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