Talking About Business Models – Interview with Tommi Rissanen

I had the pleasure of interviewing consultant Tommi Rissanen of Digital Media Finland. He’s working on his PhD dissertation on business models.

tommi-rissanen-smallerWe talk about the following themes:

  • What are digital business models and what makes them different from more traditional models?
  • How could digital business models challenge companies in the construction industry?
  • How can an established firm start experimenting with new business models?

Tommi says that the whole concept of a business model is relatively new. There are many models that try to describe a business model, e.g. the famous business model canvas by Alexander Osterwalder. However, he has found that these four basic elements that are present in all the models:

  1. Value proposition – what the customer gets
  2. Business processes – the way to produce the value
  3. Resources – personnel and other resources
  4. Revenue model – the way that the company extracts value from the customers

There are several trends that can potentially challenge the traditional construction industry. Tommi presumes that the need for new construction (in Finland) will start to decline at some point. He also mentions how ownership is becoming less important. People are getting used to using services instead of owning things. Urbanization will require new construction, but also create demand for new services.

Tommi thinks that every company should experiment with new business models. He sees experimentation as a way to learn. Every day, companies receive signals from customers, employees, and competitors. They can use this information as a starting point for small scale experiments that can eventually lead to large scale changes.

As an example of new opportunities that arise from digitalization, Tommi mentions offering design and engineering services globally over the internet. This is something that you can try out without big investments.

Learn more and contact Tommi at





Listen to the interview (also on iTunes and other podcasting platforms)



About the author

Aarni Heiskanen

Aarni Heiskanen, Construction Innovation Agent, is hailed as a Top 100 influencer in construction. Aarni has been a pioneer in computer-aided design, he has co-founded a business software company, and worked as a certified management consultant. At present, he runs AE Partners, a construction industry communication firm. Aarni holds a master's degree in architecture.


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