Success in the digital era will come from the connected and collaborative efforts of business ecosystems more than from the controlled efforts of individual companies. To stay competitive and relevant, companies need to transform their relationships with their various partners and providers to become highly functional ecosystems.
The Shift to Business Ecosystems
It used to be clear which desk you sat at, where the office you worked for was located and which company was responsible for creating the products you purchased. Now those lines are all increasingly blurred. We are operating in hyperconnected environments, in flexible workspaces, with distributed teams and in multiple partnerships. As the demand for new ideas, faster innovation and speed to market increases, even the most stubborn organisations are finding themselves looking for a space at the table and increasing their connectedness.
“This shift to the business ecosystem has already happened. Many of the corporate giants have business models based on the business ecosystem, from the innovators (e.g. Amazon, Alibaba, Uber and Airbnb) to the traditional companies, such as Caterpillar, and government organizations, such as Singapore’s Smart City Initiative. The business ecosystem opens up new markets and customers, new partners and collaborators, and opportunities to create entirely new business models.”
— Gartner: The Future of Your Business Ecosystem in the Age of Digital Business Sept 2018
According to a recent Gartner report, there are three business ecosystem styles: The linear Value Chain Ecosystems (early stage partnerships), the Platform-led Ecosystems (e.g. IoT platforms and Xero’s accounting platform)and what we are seeing the beginning of now, the decentralised or Distributed Ecosystems (e.g. Cryptocurrencies on Blockchain).
As the shift continues, business leaders will be forced to evolve their ecosystems in less tightly controlled value chains.
Opportunity for New Value Chains
These more inclusive ecosystems, provide an opportunity for entirely new ways of working. As the organisations perspective shifts, from employee development and internal efficiency to evolving entirely new value chains, the wider ecosystem has the opportunity to be included. With increased agility and the ability to share risks, organisations can develop more regenerative business models, using these new value chains.
Roland and Landua identify Eight Forms of Currency in their book, Regenerative Enterprise.
Overall success critically depends on the way businesses optimize for multiple forms of capital by collaborating within the regenerative enterprise ecology they participate in. Such business ecosystems are culturally transformative as they offer “new routes for the flow of financial capital into regenerative venture”
— Regenerative Enterprise by Ethan C. Roland and Gregory Landua
The Shift to Regenerative Systems
Creating regenerative systems means going beyond sustainability. It requires an awareness that everything is connected. Business, nature and even our relationships with each other, are interdependent.
“Regenerative design creates regenerative cultures capable of continuous learning and transformation in response to, and anticipation of, inevitable change.”
- Sustainability is not enough: we need regenerative cultures, Daniel C. Wahl
Connecting people, organisations and economies, enables this new way of working. One that encourages distributed business ecosystems and regenerative systems. We need to continuously learn and adapt, in order to find our place in the evolving ecosystems around us.
By caring for and working towards the health and wellbeing of our communities and ecosystems, enterprises can collaborate to become catalysts of a culture of regeneration. -Daniel Christian Wahl
A Global Framework for Transformative Change
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 states at the United Nations in September 2015, lay out a roadmap to address the most critical environmental, social and economic issues we face today. With 17 goals and 169 targets, we have a framework for transformative change.
Global Goals week (Sep 22–29th), is an opportunity to focus our efforts on making progress towards these goals, to start the shift towards more regenerative systems and connecting our business ecosystems.
We need to be more comfortable with working together in new ways, in new value chains. We need to create more opportunities to create symbiotic relationships in connected business ecosystems. We need to continue to work together to address the environmental, social and economic issues we face today. We need to be more connected.
- Why Pre-Competitive Partnerships can help deliver the SDGs, by Jenny Andersson
- The end of supply chains, by Ethan Roland Soloviev
- Co-Creating Regenerative Regenerative Enterprises, by Daniel Christian Wahl
- A Holistic Approach to Cross-Collaboration Innovation and Regenerative Business, by Mara Tolja
- Connecting Companies — Strategic Partnerships for the Digital Age, A Telstra report written by The Economist Intelligence Unit
- Connectle — www.connectle.com