My belief in a shifting organizing system dates back several years. The work of leading think tank RethinkX effectively highlights why. History tells us that a collapse is inevitable when the existing system can no longer adapt fast enough to order-of-magnitude improvement in technological capabilities. When this condition is present, a new organizing system is required. RethinkX defines an organizing system as:
As an organizing system shifts, organizations eventually shift with it. One early example is the now dominant conversation around ecosystems. A shift this significant will drive massive change – and I have written extensively on the topic of ecosystems for this specific reason. The complexity and uncertainty of our environment is challenging enough without the added burden of a phase transition (that point in time when humanity transitions from one era to another). But a path to ecosystem success exists. A recent book via Ron Adner does a great job of identifying success stories and articulating the approach used to deliver that success. In Winning the Right Game, Mr. Adner provides several examples and effectively uses visualization to tell the story.
Increasingly, this shift towards ecosystems will converge with other shifts in the system – for example the growing focus on purpose. Our ability to address our grandest challenges will manifest itself through ecosystems – a topic also addressed in the book. I highly recommend it and have added it to my library. The book abstract is included below.
How to succeed in an era of ecosystem-based disruption: strategies and tools for offense, defense, timing, and leadership in a changing competitive landscape.
The basis of competition is changing. Are you prepared? Rivalry is shifting from well-defined industries to broader ecosystems: automobiles to mobility platforms; banking to fintech; television broadcasting to video streaming. Your competitors are coming from new directions and pursuing different goals from those of your familiar rivals. In this world, succeeding with the old rules can mean losing the new game. Winning the Right Game introduces the concepts, tools, and frameworks necessary to confront the threat of ecosystem disruption and to develop the strategies that will let your organization play ecosystem offense.
To succeed in this world, you need to change your perspective on competition, growth, and leadership. In this book, strategy expert Ron Adner offers a new way of thinking, illustrating breakthrough ideas with compelling cases. How did a strategy of ecosystem defense save Wayfair and Spotify from being crushed by giants Amazon and Apple? How did Oprah Winfrey redraw industry boundaries to transition from television host to multimedia mogul? How did a shift to an alignment mindset enable Microsoft’s cloud-based revival? Each was rooted in a new approach to competitors, partners, and timing that you can apply to your own organization. For today’s leaders the difference between success and failure is no longer simply winning, but rather being sure that you are winning the right game.