Back to Articles

Facilitating Innovation Ecosystem Thinking

Paul Hobcraft , Agility Innovation Specialists
06 Jul, 2017
Share this Article

Paul Hobcraft, Innovation Advisor, Agility Innovation Specialists

I am presently wanting to determine a framework for investigating and facilitating the thinking considerations we need when we consider innovation ecosystems.

Here I’d like you to consider this as an opening set of thoughts that need to come together far more, in ways that can be repeated and applied to the same basic question that requires a thoughtful thinking through.

It moves towards dealing with the question: “what do I need to consider for entering into an innovation ecosystem design?

It is clear work-in-progress and takes a series of my mind maps I have been developing and now attempting to put these into a structure that those wanting to answer this question can begin to explore possibilities and arrive at answers to their needs. Most of this is taking thoughts and beginning to structure these and build on this further. Still, we all should start somewhere in structuring this. I put some building blocks down recently and this continues to build out the thinking.

Firstly setting an innovation ecosystem into context

Ecosystems coalesce around a complex challenge, which attracts and draws in all potential players who can contribute to sharing and relating to the challenges/goals and potential solutions, collectively. One individual’s contribution can’t solve this on its own, it needs this collaborative environment.

Ecosystems are networks of interconnected organizations, organized around one focal point, firm or platform, that has both producers (that add intellectual value) and user-side participants (that add their experience and need), all wanting to focus and advance new value through innovation.

It is an ecosystem need that recognizes the value of being both upstream (producing) and downstream (consuming) as the combination effect can provide greater sustaining value is created in this ecosystem design approach.

The advantages and benefits to participating and building an innovation ecosystem

  • The competitive positioning potential
  • A greater ability to transfer new knowledge and build on these exchanges
  • It takes thinking outside existing own borders to accelerate learning

The factors that need addressing on any current ecosystem evaluation

  • Organizational Cultural Differences
  • Common Identification of the Success Factors for progress, outputs, and outcomes
  • The recognizing of Internal Barriers and Constraints need to be open, honest and transparent in their assessment.

Stakeholder Evaluations

  • What will nurture, sustain and protect investments
  • What level of people (diversity) needs to be involved?
  • What type of partner, their contributions, and expectations
  • The levels of technology maturity and skills available and needed
  • What becomes a going in cluster design that can enable a working frame?
  • What architecture considerations need to be considered?

Considerations and principles for measuring vibrancy within the Innovation Ecosystem

  • Building competencies to know and build your ecosystem of the present and the future
  • Extract as much value of diversity and network effect
  • Receptiveness to interactions and co-collaborations
  • Establishing constantly the shared interest, purpose and value understanding – keep revisiting this.
  • The abilities to spot patterns, making connections, sense-making and discovering needs
  • The ability to recognize failure or roadblocks and have a mechanism in place to address these.

Building a common understanding, language, and shared belief

  • What are the resources needed for this to make it happen and then be added at different stages
  • What are the considerations for the cultural design and environmental factors?
  • What protocols need to be in place for knowledge sharing value?
  • What levels of Governance are needed, what factors will trigger and escalate oversight and different level of judgment
  • How will the strategy evolve, the vision and mission adapt and adjust to new learning.
  • What different levels of leadership need to be involved and the mechanism for engaging
  • High levels of project management skills and commitment need to be constantly updated
  • The Human Resource Management needs to separate this out and treat it specifically to its needs
  • The different levels of technology understanding, engagement and skills required needs to be high
  • The concept of merging jobs-to-be-done with experiences-to-be-explored is highly relevant.

Robust decision framework – applying evolving thinking

  • Pragmatic migration pathway
  • Slowly and systematically evolving the ecosystem
  • How each seeks to influence others through some type of advantage to them
  • The ability to change perspectives, looking at the same issues with different lenses
  • The constant reinforcing of trust and transparency, of evaluating and exploring
  • Openness to bring in others that can help advance the thinking and progress

In summary

This is a first attempt to construct the part of an innovation ecosystem framework. It is a series of first thoughts. It will grow and then be shaped and refined in the weeks ahead. It might radically alter as this is worked through to arrive at a final design.

For me, ecosystems will challenge the way we have undertaken innovation and how it is being managed today. We need to take it out of pockets of experts and silos of specialized knowledge and pool this. Achieving a working framework for thinking this through needs far greater development and thought.

I just thought I’d share some of my opening thoughts here and plan to go deeper in the weeks ahead in collaboration with Jeffrey Phillips, my collaborating partner on this exploring ecosystems, platforms, transformation and customer experience emerging journey.

Comments ({{count}})
Replies: {{comment.comments_count}}
There are currently no comments. Be the first to comment on this article
Load more +

Want to leave a Comment? Register now.

Are you sure you wish to delete this comment?