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The UNITE Strategy-Execution framework: Where to innovate & where to cut costs.

This ground-breaking framework helps you understand where to innovate and where to cut costs. It further helps you connect your strategy to your business objectives and your IT, thus aligning all critical business areas.

Helps you understand where to cut costs and where to innovate

Drives alignment of Strategy, Business & IT

Provides clear guidelines to determine and prioritze cost and investment principles

What the download contains

  • The UNITE Strategy-Execution framework: Where to innovate & where to cut costs
  • Brief instructions addressing your non-core, core and differentiating areas
  • Overview of the entire UNITE Business Model Framework, which helps you understand the role of business modelling in context
What People Are Saying

Why we use it:

Most organizations do not understand what is non-core, core or differentiating in their business. This understanding is critical, since it drives key questions such as where to apply cost-cutting and where to innovate. Further, understanding whether something is core or not will help you understand which strategy to use and how to reach business and IT alignment.


The framework provides an overview of the non-core, core, and differentiating aspects of a business and connects them to matching Business Objectives, Business Strategies and IT strategies. You can see that as the differentiation potential increases, the strategic importance of the area increases, and decisions are driven by the desire to increase the value of your product. In the non-core areas, the strategic importance is lower, and these are places that you can cut costs through standardization, automation, and outsourcing.

Typically, 80% of a business is non-core. Even if an activity refers to a key aspect of the business, like logistics or manufacturing, if you are not doing anything radically different than your competitors, this is not contributing to your differentiation. As such, the best strategy is to apply standard practices to optimize efficiency and reduce costs.

The core activities are where you are going head-to-head with your competition, so clearly you want to maintain the ability to compete. At the same time, these activities are not adding to your competitive advantage, so you want as much as possible to keep costs down here so that you can invest resources in differentiating activities.

Your differentiating areas, which are typically about 5% of your business, are what set you apart and allow you to charge premium prices. You should seek to become best in class in these activities and continue to develop your differentiation through innovation both in your product and in your Business Model.

What is the goal of the model?

Strategy-Business-IT alignment and resource efficiency. As markets and mindsets change, it is not always clear what parts of your business are key to its success. It is important to consider all of the aspects of your Business Model to understand what is truly critical to your differentiation (and should be invested in) and what is not (and should be economized).



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Related tools & models


The following tools and models support the one you are exploring. If you’re ready to go further, check them out., download the models below and continue your journey …


Related categories

Explore the other models in the category you started with or take a look at these related categories. There is no right way to use these tools. Follow the path that works best for you and your team.

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The Origin of this Model:
» How to Create Innovation «

How to Create Innovation is a practical, comprehensive, OpenSource guide for successful corporate innovation. The UNITE initiative and movement, spearheaded by Stefan F. Dieffenbacher and Caroline Hüttinger and supported by a diverse team of industry leaders and innovation researchers, aims to spark a revolution in global innovation and transformation.


How to CREATE INNOVATION is a workbook for students, innovators, designers, and government and corporate leaders who appreciate and are curious about emerging technologies and the accelerating pace of innovation. It challenges the status quo and supports the development of the mindset, beliefs and strategies necessary for the next stage of business evolution. Leverage the UNITE innovation framework to conceptualize and build the future of your business.

Benefit from Digital
Leaderships’ experience

Digital Leadership is a strategy-execution firm built on strong and innovative values. We support our customers in strategizing, building and securing their future through the creation of fully digitally enabled, and extraordinarily successful, products and businesses. Our agile, lean, fast-track business setup, coupled with access to an extensive pool of highly specialized and trusted resources (customized for each customer’s journey), allows for ideating and building in an effective and meaningful way.

Shared goals are the cornerstone of our customer approach. To date, our team has successfully led 74 projects with numerous global players across all industry sectors, ranging from $50,000 projects to $100 million ones. But helping our customers’ build their futures is not enough. We are committed to changing the world through the sharing of powerful innovation and transformation practices. Join the UNITE movement and help us start an innovation revolution.
Stefan F. Dieffenbacher
Founder & Managing Director of Digital Leadership

»We build digital winners.
It's what we are made for. Let's create winning digital businesses – together. And, at the same time, let’s create a world worth living in.«


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