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Last updated:  
September 20, 2021

Ecosystem thinking and the ecosystem mindset

Lammert Postma

The Covid-19 crisis has pushed many organisations past the last hurdle of the digital transformation. Many organisation are now able or will be able to digitally connect their knowledge internally and externally.

This brings organisations in the next phase where they need to think how these new connections will impact their organisation. What does it mean to be able to connect with others, and what does it mean that others connect to their data? How does that impact the technology, the way they design, their internal processes, their business models and most importantly: how does it impact their customers?

Customers are already experiencing this digital transformation and see organisations pushing the conversation to so-called digital self-service channels.

In this new economy where we are all connected, that some people call the ecosystem economy, companies still tend to keep their traditional behaviour. They copy the world they know to the new reality. But the new reality introduces a complete new paradigm. It forces all of us to think about what it means to be part of a connected world and what it means to be part of an ecosystem.

Ecosystem Thinking

We see organisations fighting to be ‘the center’ of their ecosystem, asking the rest of their stakeholders to connect with them. That can work. However, for many, it is applying old paradigms to a new world. They still see themselves as the center of the universe, focus on their individual (financial) growth. For example, banks want you to connect all your bank data to their app, to be your financial controller; HR systems want to be the platform for employees; travel agencies want to be the platform ‘for travel’. Everyone is figuring out how to extend their own system to own their customers.

But customers can’t be owned, and an ecosystem is not an appendage.

There are many different ways to participate in an ecosystem. As an organisation, you need to define your ecosystem strategy and take a keystone position: will you create a new ecosystem, will you be an orchestrator in the ecosystem or will you participate in an existing business ecosystem?

Many years ago we wrote about communities - we talked about We=You and Me. Being successful and delivering success in and with ecosystems requires even more that organisations let go of the individualistic thinking. They cannot think about their services in isolation. Think from the perspective of an ecosystem and define your keystone position. Which role will your organisation play in that ecosystem?

Then, and now, it starts by changing the business mindset: about adopting an ecosystem mindset.

Learn how to define your ecosystem strategy and about the 3 keys to adopting an Ecosystem Mindset.

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