7. December 2017

Ecosystems Thinking

Traditionally, companies have driven innovation internally, often with the implicit expectation that the R&D department owns the innovation agenda. However, nowadays innovation potential emerges at the frontiers of previously unrelated industries, which implies a much stronger look outside of the company.

We believe a critical competence companies will have to build up for the future is that of “Ecosystem Thinking”. What does this mean? In an ecosystem, all elements involved contribute and receive taking a system eventually to a higher evolutionary state. Equally, companies will need to tap into the innovation potential coming from unfamiliar partners and industries requiring the continuous screening and evaluation of critical players within but more important outside of their industry. Today, competitors emerge “out of the unknown” threating existing industries logics impacting existing players significantly and an “ecosystem thinking” competence will sharpen the awareness for both the opportunities and the threats of this trend. Strategic competence should thus be complemented with an ecosystem thinking competence to ensure companies remain competitive configuring alternative business models with alternative value chains.

Photo credit: USFWS Pacific via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC