I see the growing importance of ecosystems and platforms for those that want a thriving future, these are the ones that simply “get this” need to connect into a wider ecosystem to build better value and solutions that customers want. The business imperative of today and near-term future is designing around ecosystems that seek out collaborative platform solutions.
Regretfully for those that don’t, the ones that hang on to the belief that their island of knowledge and their product offering are still good enough to meet the customer needs will face a very uncertain and bumpy future.
This is a delusion, utterly deluding, to continue as you have previously, as customers are today looking at “connected experiences” and these come out of far more complex back-ends of delivery, orchestrated on platforms, where the leverage of partners, technology, and common cause come together in highly collaborative ways. Also working on solutions that are recognizing that the front delivery end provides simplicity, ease of access and completion of the service or experience customers are looking for, far more as providing a more complete comprehensive, connected solution to their needs.
The major shifts are all in plain sight
We see this delivery by Uber, Facebook, Amazon and in their networks of partners and associates all working under a platform brand, giving enormous value in business returns. We see it in travel connectivity where you can complete all the necessary booking and travel solutions, simply by working through one site, it ‘feels’ seamless. We increasingly look for convenience, seamless experiences and connected value in Grocery shopping, in ordering Electronics, Clothes, Footwear, as well as in managing our insurance, banking, and medical needs. All industries are undergoing radical change in how they design their future and how it connects.
As customers, we are increasingly becoming an important part of these platforms in design, in feedback in suggesting improvements. Over incredibly short periods of time it becomes our tailored experience, our platform solution of choice, as we as consumers build out “vested interests” up so our profile and suggested outcomes become ‘predicted and known’ or quickly shaped by a history of understanding. We are in the age of being highly networked into all we do so we can extract the value that makes-up the final outcome. The depth and complexity of our “ecosystems of need” are unable to be handled by the power of one, it is the connected power of the many. We are in a very different world of being connected up.
Sometimes something opens up and reveals itself
Yet it remains a mystery to me that so many of our business entities are we not getting the changes that are constantly in front of us. If they stop and care to look at their own personal lives and how they are being changed by technology and digital connected solutions they must recognize the business they work for has to totally committed to exploiting this for sustaining value and growing their business. We are seeing that the consumer totally gets this and moves easily and quickly across to connected services that deliver the solution they need. We are in the age of platform solutions, needed on-demand 24 x 7
To leverage growth, to orchestrate value, you need to be highly connected, networked and fully engaged in exploring ecosystems of collaborators on platforms that deliver through digital connectivity and unique structures, clearly focused on delivering the solutions that customers highly value and need in their lives.
This is partly why this site, www.ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com came into being in late September 2016 as I realized how dynamically important was this area of ecosystem and platform understanding was becoming. It was changing much of my innovation understanding. It needed to be central to my thinking going forward.
I formed a partnership with a previous collaborator of mine, build up over many years around exploring and extending innovation, Jeffrey Phillips. We worked at getting this early thinking ‘flushed out’ in different exchanges and posts in the past twelve months to set our “wheels of thinking in motion“. Jeffrey recently has decided to take a hiatus from this for the time being, as some other parts of his innovating work have demanded increasing attention. For me, I feel this needs to go on and be pushed through even more. I’m rethinking how this will be so, so it can evolve and contribute value.
So to restate a view first, I want to go back to one of my primary triggers, summed up in an article I posted in early September 2016 on LinkedIn. I want to reproduce it here, as a restated position of why I believe we are in a really different new innovation era. A sort-of clarifying out my position of why innovation needs to change.
So many of our organizations are stuck in the old paradigm of doing business- they are disconnected.
I wrote this just over a year ago. I feel I have come a complete circle leading back to this why? are we not getting the changes that are constantly in front of us, if we care to look as businesses. The consumer gets it and moves easily and quickly across to connected services that deliver the solution they need, 24 x 7. We are in the age of platform solutions where ecosystems need to be formed to manage complexity in new innovative ways.
We need to make changes, to seize the opportunities that are all around us. Established organizations are failing to transform enough to chase growth, they are far too conservative in their thinking. Others, determined and not fearful of existing borders or disrupting established markets will rise up and take on the challenge, they dare.
The large organizations in dominant positions today have more to fear than ever before unless they grasp the changes they can make, they do run the real risk of perishing.
It is becoming clearer that organizations acting alone or in restricted collaborations are certainly not ideally placed to capture the opportunities available today or in the future.
They are often stifling innovation and are not truly listening and delivering to the real needs of their customers. They often fail to translate potential insight into meaningful solutions. They get embroiled within themselves, they want it all and fail to recognize they do not have all the required parts. They only go part of the way, they are totally reluctant to let go, in fear of what it ‘might’ unleash. Then it becomes too late, others have seized the opportunity and stepped in.
Today we are playing’ with innovation, we are not unleashing it
The open innovation movement attests to that, it has helped open up those individual ‘silos of knowledge’ but this step was not radical enough as it is still failing to be the radical catalyst for exceptional growth. After some initial spurts of additional growth, organizations seem to simply settle back into being ‘simply part of the established norm and established market patterns,’ those that are often simply supporting the ongoing incremental performance just that little bit more than before, adding more complexity but little radical change. Is this really good enough? Can we go beyond this “innovation theatre?”
The need for a radical design and more collaborative exacting solution-driven innovation
If we agree that value creation and value delivery is proportionally coming from those that provide a real service to customer needs, the constant redesigning of the business model needs to become far more highly adaptive and flexible.
This requires something different to occur. We need to tap into this growing ‘constellation or network’ who provide specialized experience, advice, information, assurance, infrastructure, and leasing and be prepared to let go and be far less reliance on the traditional need of owning all the parts of the solution. We need to work with a network of partners and even those that have been traditional competitors, to seek out totally different, more radical designs and solutions that ‘rock’ the customer because it does resolve their need, in surprisingly new and often unexpected ways.
We need to coalesce around different innovation ecosystems and platform’s specifically set up and designed to facilitate and collectively solve, bolder innovation issues and challenges. Ones were all involved, the multiple parties, all gain from that and to deliver the growth we should be expecting from their collaborating through their innovation activities built on platforms and in ecosystems designed for this.
A radically different orchestration of innovation – highly networked as our solution
In my view, we must go way beyond “open innovation” as we practice it today. There is a real need for a broader ecosystem approach that taps into a constellation of diverse and specialized players that all come together around a particular challenge, collaborating to deliver growing complex solutions that offer real growth value for the client or the customers’ needs.
We are operating in more complex situations that need multiple contributors to finding the right solutions to meet different needs. I would argue this fits within a constellation of partners all working towards delivering innovation that is highly valuable, radical, disruptive and distinctive. A network of highly vested ecosystem partners all working towards a common goal on behalf of the organization that holds the principal intellectual property as the founding partners.
Ecosystems are becoming our business need of execution choice
An ecosystem arrangement with a multitude of agents participating in resolving complex challenges, sharing their individual knowledge, pooling their collective expertise, working in a collaborative creative environment, of a platform design where the development and commercialization of the process is established, mutually understood on who shares or owns what, and working on creating real value creation that delivers on the expertise and passion infused into this.
Some companies are recognizing this need to change, to work in highly collaborative ways where multiple organizations come together to share the cost and risks but all see the prize and potential return as worth it. For example, the forming around the industrial internet, driven by GE’s vision, or Siemens, or Bosch,seeing their future in connecting machines, customers and partners all needing each other, offering platforms as a multitude of parties all-seeing their future are looking for the leadership and platform solutions they are highly networked and digitally enabled to build radically new businesses.
Yet there are whole industries just not getting this. Something has to change or they will be left behind, as others far more willing to dare and not being conservative at heart connect digitally their innovating platform solutions. We are in a time where the bold and brave will venture out and establish the new ‘norms’ and spaces that our customers will follow, return and settle. We are in pioneering days but as the “West was won” so will be the new business opportunities by venturing forth.
Let me see where I go myself in this exploring and seeking out new horizons in a world of digitally connected ecosystems and platforms where multiple businesses and consumers connect and realize different value and opportunity.