Ecosystem Business Strategy

I recently added a book to my library titled Winning the Right Game. I then had the pleasure of talking to the book’s author, Dr. Ron Adner. He was gracious enough to sit for an interview, which you can view below. This ecosystem topic is growing in importance, but success in a growing ecosystem world is not easy. Dr. Adner provides his thoughts on what it takes to succeed. Anyone exploring ecosystem business strategies will benefit from his advice.

Winning The Right Game

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:

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Strategic Uncertainty

The goal is to create the capacity for resilience, no matter what’s thrown at you

Soren Kaplan – Don’t Create a Plan. Create a Strategy Uncertainty Map

Those that follow my Blog know that I do not believe in prediction. I am however a big believer in rehearsing the future. That quote above from a recent article points to why. It was several years ago when it became clear that the way we think about strategy needed to change. It was then that resilience and adaptability rose to the top of my imperatives list for leaders. If we cannot shift with the rapid shifts on the horizon, it will be difficult to succeed. Soren Kaplan, the author of the article, said it this way: “Forget 10-year visions. Forget 5-year roadmaps. Forget three-year plans. Long term is a year. Short-term is a month.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Zooming Out, Then In

A recent Article builds upon my Strategy post from yesterday. Written by Colin Iles, the article focuses on the need for leaders to set their short term priorities based on expectations about what the world might look like in ten years. Often, leaders feel that ten years is too long a time horizon – but the future is approaching faster than people think. This speed dynamic forces us to embrace a New Way of Thinking, one that enables us to see the future, rehearse it, and adapt to its inevitable shifts.

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Strategy Looks Very Different In A Fast, Complex, And Uncertain World

In a recent Article, author Greg Satell describes strategy in a post-Digital world. Michael Porter positioned Competitive Advantage and dominating value chains as the foundation of strategy. Like many of our institutions and ideas, multiple forces are pushing that view into the dustbin of history. Two key forces are the shift to horizontal ecosystems versus vertical value chains, and technology cycles outpacing planning cycles. I have written extensively about Ecosystems and their impact on the value equation. Maximizing bargaining power among suppliers, customers, and new market entrants gives way to value-sharing scenarios where all participants in an ecosystem win.

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Strategy and Multiple Futures

I recently engaged with fellow futurists on an article for Digitalist Magazine titled Why Strategic Plans Need Multiple Futures. I think the authors truly captured the challenges of strategic planning in a world where pace and the sheer volume of change makes our emerging future anything but predictable. The focus on story telling as the most effective way to communicate potential futures is powerful, and the Lowe’s example really brings that point home. I recommend this articles to leaders everywhere. Here is a powerful quote:

“Companies like Lowe’s are realizing that standard ways of planning for the future won’t get them where they need to go. The problem with traditional strategic planning is that the approach, which dates back to the 1950s and has remained largely unchanged since then, is based on the company’s existing mission, resources, core competencies, and competitors.

Yet the future rarely looks like the past. What’s more, digital technology is now driving change at exponential rates. Companies must be able to analyze and assess the potential impacts of the many variables at play, determine the possible futures they want to pursue, and develop the agility to pivot as conditions change along the way.”

Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 1 – Strategy

I’ve spent time in the past year writing about the emerging digital enterprise. I want to shift my focus to the road map required to become one. This is the first in a six part series that examines the digital enterprise journey and provides a perspective on the steps along the way. These steps can be grouped into six key categories:

  1. Developing a holistic strategy
  2. Creating experienced-based differentiation
  3. Creating an integrated social ecosystem
  4. Developing systems of engagement and integrating to systems of record
  5. Enabling right-time in-the-moment effectiveness
  6. Moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive 

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