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How do frameworks solve business challenges?

My wife is an artist. She also teaches art. When one of her pupils has finished a painting, she will hold it up for everyone to admire. And then she will put one of her mounts and frames around the painting. What previously looked great, now looks brilliant. The frame has transformed the painting.

This is exactly how frameworks can be used to solve business challenges. Firstly, they provide boundaries and kerbstones that locate the subject. This keeps everything in order. They bring a focus to the subject. The onlooker can see what you are talking about without any distractions. Furthermore, just as the frame around the picture enhances it, so too the frame around the business challenge will make it look good to those who are reviewing it. A discussion on brand positioning can snap into place if it is framed within Porter’s generic strategies. What previously might have seemed like an opinion piece can be turned into something much more convincing when it is grounded in established theory.

It is important to find the right frame. An ornate guilt frame around a painting from one of the old masters looks good but it would look wrong on a painting by David Hockney.

Knowing which framework to use is half the problem. Our choice is narrowed down by the type of problem that we face. Is it a strategic challenge related to the company or its marketing? Do we face competitive threats? Is it a specific challenge related to pricing or new product development? Each will have its own frame. On this website we have classified the frameworks according to their purpose. We have frameworks related to general business strategy, marketing, pricing, innovation, product management, and customer analysis. Many of the frames can be used for more than one application.

The starting point is to familiarise yourself with the many different tools and frameworks. There are hundreds of them and our recommendation is to concentrate on those that are established and have passed the test of time. Start with the 50 frameworks that you will find in The Business Models Handbook and that are summarised on this website.

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