The power of ecosystem thinking

“Opening up our thinking towards ecosystems will have a powerful effect,
it alters the way we will approach problems today and in the future”

Our whole understanding of innovation is changing; we are evaluating and changing our existing focus from closed (internal orientation) into open and far more collaborative innovation (external orientation) with our collective thinking offering the acceleration into improving our innovation performances, leading to higher chances of achieving greater impact and success.

The search is seemingly on to find greater value, which will increasingly coalesce around different innovation ecosystems.  We need to form in many different ways significantly more relationships that increasingly matter to each organization, that add value, insight, and bring external expertise inside to work on ‘greater’ innovation solutions. We are creating the potential to deliver innovative products and services that would not be delivered by only having the one organization attempting it. Complexity is on the rise, offering discrete products is on the wane.

Firstly why are business ecosystems emerging as a real competitive force?

As we begin to open up our thinking and begin to focus on the concept of ecosystems, it will increasingly have a powerful effect on our future growth perspectives in considering alternatives and possibilities. The network of different partners will all contribute to this often ‘emergent’ thinking and quickly increase the total sum of the value.

The single industry and business-specific approach are seeing change; many companies are exploring the value of becoming involved in a business ecosystem that crosses a variety of industries to build new communities that have the capacity to transform existing environments.

One has to recall the “battle of devices has now become a war of building the better ecosystem.” It is not one single product that is chasing in crowded, highly competitive fields. We are looking to increase the share of minds, engagement, and increasing preferences reflecting these changing habits, tastes, and lifestyles. To plugin to achieve this ‘paradigm shift,’ the search is on forming the ecosystem or set of ecosystems that can deliver on this ‘transformation’ going on in front of our eyes.

The realization becomes one of embracing innovation ecosystems.

Today, this growing realization that thinking ecosystems allow for a new frame and mindset that taps into different and diverse relationships, partnerships, alliances, and collaborations unthinkable without the enablers to make these connections through technology and more open platforms where you can come together and collaborate.

The increasing value of participating in ecosystems allows for large and small organizations to create, scale, and serve markets in ways unimaginable previously. The ability to interact and co-create in increasingly sophisticated and novel ways opens up new opportunities. These ecosystems form a bond of shared interest, recognition, and purpose, which quickly becomes established as the new ‘commons’ in sharing and contributing.

So the challenge is for organizations to think differently.

Firstly thinking ecosystems allows for going out of normal scope, it allows you to open up your thinking to exploring the unimaginable of the past and transform this past ‘norm’ into the practice of your future. We see the most valuable companies emerging today are largely based on sophisticated platform business models where ecosystems are vital to their health.

There is a caveat to this need to change.

The more disruptive you seek to make your solution, the more the ecosystem must be shaped, changed, or simply created. Ecosystems are hard, demanding and complex work. If you comitt to having a ecosystem design, be ready to challenge everything and most probably you will end up changing everything!

Placing a new product in an existing ecosystem, or worse, ignoring the ecosystem and expected total solution means your product or service will have little impact and will become a commodity quickly. The “dependence” factor, the inter-relationship dependence is there as it builds around your basic concept, it builds the connected value.

Shaping or introducing a new ecosystem is not easy but transforms competition; it provides distinct competitive and customer propositions.  Also, by thinking ecosystems and platforms and equally developing the understanding of the seamless total solution that the customer expects, these necessary innovation ecosystems will emerge as innovation centers of the future. It ‘signals’ the amount of innovation that must be done on the product or service and on the channel, the business model, and on building and exploiting all the relationships within the network to make it distinctive and value. Innovation needs to move into this different connected era.

Ecosystems are powerful,if you are not so comfortable in what this would mean then there is no better opportunity to begin to find out