Business Model Canvas for Government Purchases of Commercial Satellite Communications

August 2012
Topics: Economic and Cost Analysis, Government Acquisition, IT Investment Management, Satellite Communications
Dr. James A. Dimarogonas, The MITRE Corporation
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The traditional model for government purchases of satellite communications has been the development and operations of satellites by a government agency or department (e.g. NASA, Department of Defense etc.), or the direct lease of services from commercial vendors. This traditional model has two major shortfalls: the government generally has long development cycles, which lead to higher priced systems with somewhat older technologies; the lease of commercial services are timely and cost effective, but do not meet many of the unique government mission needs. As budgets get tighter, and the commercial sector advances ahead of the government in the development of new ideas and technologies in Satellite Communications, new acquisition paradigms need to be developed for effective and efficient purchase of these capabilities in support of military and civilian missions. However the lack of a business model framework that would guide this exploration has severely limited business innovation in this area. We propose a business model framework, based on the Osterwalder et al (2009) Business Model Canvas, and similar to the business model re-invention framework proposed by Johnson, Christensen and Kagermann (2008). In our framework we treat both government and industry as integral parts of a joint business model, that separates out government and industry responsibilities, as well as costs and profits respectively, but allows us to see each element of the business model in relation to each other, and guides us in building the foundations for a successful government-industry partnership in new and innovative ways. We will present the overall framework, the business model canvas, and a few examples of how it would used in a brainstorming setting to identify new ideas and approaches.

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