One of the important theories of management in the 20th century was called “Contingency Theory.” Developed originally by Joanne Woodward at Imperial College, contingency theory proposed that optimal organizational design would differ across organizations based on key factors: operational technology employed, environmental factors, competitive context, and even managerial styles and preferences. A key responsibility of management is deciphering or discovering that optimal design. The design was there to be found, and smart managers would find it through analysis and, if necessary, some minor experimentation. While there might not be a perfect design across all organizations in an industry, there would be significant patterns
Business model design thinking approaches this very differently.