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The Business Genome Project and the advancement of business practice

Ian F. Wilkinson (School of Marketing, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Roy Crossfield (The Business Genome Project, Gainsborough, UK)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 27 June 2008




Business innovation comes from combining, recombining and modifying existing ideas, knowledge and know‐how in new ways. The purpose of this paper is to describe an approach to accelerating the business innovation process by priming the combining and recombining process, called the Business Genome Project (BGP).


Business innovation and evolution is compared to cultural and biological evolution and the Human Genome Project (HGP) is used as a template for developing the business genome concept, which involves identifying and mapping the building blocks of extant businesses.


The paper describes a way of priming the innovation pump by aiding the identification and sharing of key business ideas, knowledge and know‐how across firms, organisations, industries, technologies and nations. Recent developments in internet‐based technologies, like Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia of Life, suggest the project is feasible.

Practical implications

The BGP can provide a fundamental, new understanding of the commercial world: its businesses, their know‐how, their context and their cultures. It also provides a basis for on‐going collaboration, communication, research and development, amongst businesses (and their stakeholders), which would accelerate the innovation process.


The BGP is an original idea inspired by the HGP that promises to have a similar impact on business practice, policy and research.



Wilkinson, I.F. and Crossfield, R. (2008), "The Business Genome Project and the advancement of business practice", European Business Review, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 331-349.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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