Innovation Strategy 2: Business Model Canvas of Disruptive and Incumbent

As mentioned in the first post on Innovation, the Automobile industry was chosen with Ford Motors as the incumbent and Tesla Motors as the disruptor, because of the fascinating pace the automobile industry is moving forward with. An industry that had been moving forward largely by sustaining innovation, is now challenged by the likes of Tesla Motors, Google and Apple (Hepler, 2015)

Sustaining innovation is nothing but incremental innovation that helps companies and products sustain in the same market/industry.


Tesla has always intrigued me with bold business models and disruptive innovation strategies. But Tesla was not chosen because it had radical technology (Electric cars are not new, they have been around for 125 years, (The History of the Electric Car, 2015)) but because it is not sustaining idea and also, because it conspicuously questioned the existing practices in the automobile industry (Kilhof, 2014). By going green with electric cars Tesla, appeared to have the answer for the ever-volatile, oil and gas industry (Ghouri and de Vries, 2016).  Tesla’s business is captured in the Business Model Canvas, jointly developed with my MBA cohort as below:

Tesla Business Model Canvas
Tesla: Business Model Canvas


As mentioned in the first post, for me, Ford was the first real innovator in the automobile industry over a century ago when Henry Ford started the assembly line production. It was revolutionary in its times (Ltd, 2016). Up until the late 1980’s, Ford was among the top three manufacturers in the United States (Big Three (automobile manufacturers), 2016). Ford appears to have taken a corrective step to stay relevant, read, Open innovation, which I will go into detail in the Innovation models.

Business Model Canvas of Ford Motors is as below

Ford Business Model Canvas

What I want to uncover in the next series of posts are how can Ford innovate itself to stay relevant in face of the competition with the likes of Tesla challenging its products and business model. Which innovation models should Ford use, if not using already and analyse further on the steps Ford have taken thus far to combat the disruptor challenge from Tesla in particular.


Hepler, L. (2015) Apple, Google, Tesla and the race to electric self-driving cars. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2016)

Kilhof, S. (2014) Tesla’s fight with dealership monopoly rattles the car industry. Available at: (Accessed: 25 May 2016).

The History of the Electric Car (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2016).

Big Three (automobile manufacturers) (2016) in Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2016).





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