It seems like every self-respecting company must have an ecosystem these days. Is this the new buzz-word? Perhaps it is – but one with great value.
Just a definition. A business ecosystem is a network of organizations and people who unite around common goals. The members complement each other. It is a kind of club. When you think of an ecosystem, think of a rainforest. All kinds of things grow there. The diversity of the rainforest also determines its strength. So, business ecosystems include business partners that complement each other.
Faster unlocking of value
Attention is growing for business ecosystems. Why? Because the world gets more dynamic, more uncertain and still needs higher speed of actions.
Ecosystems can provide fast access to external capabilities that may be too expensive or time-consuming to build internally, says BCG.
Organizations need to flatten themselves for faster unlocking of value, says McKinsey. Connectivity becomes more important than hierarchies. They believe ecosystems are important since increasingly value is created in networks with partners.
For a company it could have strong benefits to have partners around them that can reinforce each other, open, easy to combine, without having to coordinate and steer everything. To become an organization without borders. So, it seems logical for organizations to develop ecosystems around their organization.
We at 42Collective believe that ecosystems can also play a strong role to tackle to so called BHAGS. Big Hairy Audacious Goals are just too big to solve them alone. These goals require cocreation, innovating together, working together. We need collaborations of complementary partners.
Platforms and ecosystems are a better fit for the issues we face today. That’s because, for example, technological developments are happening faster and faster and you can’t keep up with everything. Being stronger together – that plays a big role in ecosystems.
This is why we with 42C bring together complementary organizations to jointly strive for strong missions. What BHAGS we aim for? Energy, Regenerative Agriculture, Plastics, Textile? You name it. Read about our mission as 42Collective – then you will understand why we are so passionate about innovating together to solve these BHAGS.
It’s not just us who believe in ecosystems and the power of collaboration to tackle serious issues or join forces on Audacious Goals.
I am a big fan and I am also inspired by Simone Cicero who has created a wonderful initiative: The Boundaryless Organizations. Simone and his team have been uniting thinkers from across the world who see the value (and even maybe the necessity for) ecosystems and platforms. They believe that the hierarchical organization as we know them has strong limitations these days. They think that ecosystems will play an important role as an alternative.
Inspiration on ecosystems
Please read our recommended articles. It’s not just us. This is a growing movement.
We believe that the world gets a better place if we unite in collectives.
Simone brings people from all over the world together to exchange ideas about this theme and also to talk about concrete examples. He hosts a podcast – which I highly recommend to anyone who is curious about “organizing businesses in a different way.
Listen for example to Lisa Gansky former innovator at Kodak. She believes that the traditional hierarchies within organizations have strong limitations. But then what? The future of how we will organize our organizations is not clear. Lisa calls ecosystems “the bridge between the “no more and the not yet”.
Another great edition of Sangeet Paul Choudary’s podcast – Re-bundling the Firm around Problems to Be Solved. This podcast has inspired us to think from the problem to be solved and involve the best people in the world and not work with “own” employees.
Collaborating on Big Hairy Audacious Goals is our ambition as 42Collective. With open innovation united in ecosystems, we can make great strides.
What about you?
New Foundations of Platform-Ecosystem Thinking by Boundaryless (platformdesigntoolkit.com)
Checkpoint episode with Lisa Gansky: Ecosystems – between the “no more” and the “not yet” | by Simone Cicero | Stories of Platform Design (platformdesigntoolkit.com)