Ecosystems and platforms are our pathways to a new innovation future.

Ecosystems have suddenly become of age, as they can be formed around common concepts fairly rapidly, they can enable cross-cutting innovation to be delivered in highly collaborative ways. They can, through shared platforms achieve a closer relationship with the customer, to understand their needs and experience through increased collaboration, and engagement.

Connecting and collaborating opportunities for business seem to be really powerful networks of value-adding effect, for finding new economic opportunity. This calls for some radical rethinking of the existing business and deciding the design of the future business. We are at a critical point of change. Business needs to explore the future in far more highly collaborative ways.

This calls for thinking through a different designed structure for the business and different skills needed. The shifting from the current state to the future designed state is no easy task. It requires a radical redesign of the organisation, as it significantly increases complexity and where any digital transformation has to center upon as the critical enabler to enable this shift.

Clarifying the new critical capabilities

It is identifying the critical capabilities and being adept and agile enough in learning from these, to embed them into the changing culture. There is a critical need to be technology savvy, digitally adroit, highly analytical, and fast to make the connections, to explore and exploit the ‘breaking’ opportunities. We are having to adjust our learning to have increased levels of higher human-centered approaches, through exploiting design thinking, to learn and adapt.

Design thinking can provide a different thinking-through perspective to manage in more complex environments, break down barriers, and overcome new hurdles to deliver new economic value. New economic value has to be ‘seen’ and believed in, so people can engage and work towards making the necessary changes. We are in need of exploring new ways to think, to empower, and explore so as to push and extend the business ecosystem design. It needs to be both highly human and digital-centric. 

We are attempting to integrate into new ways the increasing needs and capacities of people, to capitalise on a myriad of choices with technology options and find new ways for business success. The approach needs to work around that of being viable, desirable and feasible, as the new value combination for new innovation, one that design thinking contributes into. We are actually forging far more ‘upstream’ and trying to reverse the ‘downstream’ many of today’s businesses find themselves in, to regain real value propositions that can offer a more sustainable business future.

In the future, we need to build on different thinking: innovation ecosystem thinking

We have today built-in too many constraints. We are locked into an old model of building economic wealth. We need a new wealth-creating paradigm. Much of our present-day management is holding us back, it needs to radically rethink how it will organise and build its capabilities and capacity to evolve and collaborate.

Boards and Senior Management have a lack of time, as they are often too busy, focusing on the day-to-day they have precious little time to think about the future. They remain extremely nervous when they do not have clear lines of insight to make what they see as riskier decisions. Finally, they are struggling with their present organisational design to adjust and adapt to the changing external world, full of uncertainties. To dither, to put decisions off, to seek out more certainty is not a position of any strength, it is the catalyst to eventual destruction. We need to face these inbuilt constraints. We need to change our mindsets.

It is finding uniqueness that becomes increasingly important and comes from new knowledge, innovation investigation, validation, and outcomes and delivered in business ecosystems that offer new customer value, it builds greater value into capital. It is the amount of capital you invest that drives the potential and today, we are increasingly finding that Ecosystems and Platforms, formed around ideas that are often too complex to be developed by a single entity, are benefiting through collaborative endeavors.

Ecosystem thinking can have a very transforming effect.

It opens us up to a highly fluid, changing world of possibilities full of interactions, sharing, and exchange. It can help allow you to match and possibly get ahead of all the volatility swirling around us. We can develop strategies built on emerging knowledge and innovations that can grow out of a collaborating community.

The traditional confines of market boundaries are clearly breaking down and reforming around these ecosystems and platforms that connect partners and consumers in dramatically different ways. It is these Value-added ways, and that ‘intent’ is driving a radically different environment to manage within, one of building knowledge ecosystems, innovation ecosystems and business ecosystems that connect up and form the interconnected parts of the required ecosystem design.


What we all have to recognise is that the value of breaking down long-standing boundaries is occurring with or without you. Yet we do need to consciously shape this in more collaborative ways. Barriers are needing breaking down, we need to recognise the need and value of coalescing around a networked ecosystem. The chances for greater, more radical innovation to grow the business comes from exploring mutual opportunities to capture new economic value.

As you open yourself up to collaborating you open yourself up for greater learning and from this you can reshape your business design to adjust to this changing reality we are finding within a business; the need for designing our separate entities of business into a connected set of business ecosystems, to offer greater growth.