Following the growing interest in business model innovation, software tools have shown great potential in supporting business model development and innovation. The highly creative task of business model innovation is, however, not effectively supported by software, and especially the cognitive processes involved in the generation of business model ideas have received little attention in software design-knowledge. Our study is the first to investigate how cognitive models can inform the development of creativity-enhancing functions to activate software-based tools in business model innovation. Specifically, we utilize three mental principles from cognitive psychology for the purpose of business model innovation. Cognitive stimuli can activate these mental principles and aid individuals by promoting perspectival changes for idea generation. This enables us to propose theoretical foundations for researching business model development tools to help practitioners and researchers in developing and evaluating software-based tools supporting innovating business models.