A brief introduction to innovation ecosystems
In recent years, innovation has moved out of closed, corporate labs and started to expand into the wider ecosystem of partners and collaborators. Arguably, this could be seen as a direct result of the evolution of digital that we see in society. For one, digital is increasingly becoming the core of modern society with governments, companies and other organizations adopting digital-first as the default strategy for any new service or product that they launch.
A digital-first approach
This digital-first approach nicely resonates with the rise of the digital generations, the so-called millennials (born in the 80s and 90s), Gen Z (late 90s and zeroes) and Gen Alpha (born after 2010) that are now starting to make their mark. Expectations shifted to not only digital-native, but towards inclusion and sharing, and this extends to the way the younger generations like to work.
On top of all that, and perhaps most importantly, big corporations are simply no longer the only ones able to attract the resources needed to be successful innovators.
Data, talent, capital, access to clients — all these assets are spread broadly and need to be brought together in order to keep the current flow of innovation going.
Take financial services as an example.
Data, talent, capital, and access to clients — all these assets are spread broadly and need to be brought together in order to keep the current flow of innovation going.
Digital: Changing the face of the financial services industry
Banks have an obvious abundance of data, capital and customer access. Fintechs, however, attract a big portion of the talent such as young data scientists and engineers who prefer to work for a smaller, more agile organization than a big corporation. Fintechs typically have no shortage of capital as investors are keen to recognize the value of a small hub of experts that master technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain or quantum. However, to have access to a sufficient customer base and relevant data may be a different story.
Inevitable and valuable
In short, innovation ecosystems are inevitable and very valuable. But do we really understand how they work together? Do innovation ecosystems act as a round table, or do we see certain parties dominate the relationship as they bring in assets that are essential for that phase of the process. And on a more holistic level, how do we see these relationships shift in time? What positions do the partners take in the ecosystem — central or fringe — and what strategies can companies use to steer them through this process?
If you are as interested in this topic as my co-author S. James Ellis and I are, please check out our opinion paper on Ecosystem dynamics: Understanding dominance and centrality in innovative ecosystems. This Atos paper features our findings as we take a deep dive into this topic. If you'd like to exchange thoughts on this, please feel free to reach out to us.
Download the opinion paper: Ecosystem dynamics: Understanding dominance and centrality in innovative ecosystems