Introduction to the Drucker Forum 2019
The Power of Ecosystems - Managing in a Networked World
by Richard Straub
Ecosystems are everywhere, not confined to natural environments — increasingly, we see businesses, public sector institutions, and third-sector organizations all moving beyond their traditional operational borders and creating or participating in new, flexible, and adaptive networks of enterprises jointly pursuing ambitious purposes. There are the ecosystems of developers that have been mobilized by powerful tech firms such as Microsoft and Apple; the innovation clusters embedded in certain geographic ecosystems; and the legions of lean, agile organizations that have proliferated as large infrastructure builders provide robust platforms. Long before these recent developments, Peter Drucker recognized that complementary organizations and institutions together make up a "social ecology"— a complex adaptive system that is new and man-made – in which entities of all sizes and strategies interact and operate in an increasingly fast changing and complex environment. In today’s digitally enabled markets, Drucker’s concept of a social, business ecology has become full-blown reality. With a new “nervous system” provided by digital networks and increasing machine intelligence, pioneering players such as Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, and Google — as well as long-established companies such as BMW, Haier, Novo Nordisk, and Rio Tinto — are engaging in the new leadership imperative to leverage sprawling commercial ecosystems.
The 11th Drucker Forum will enlighten and equip leaders across economic sectors facing the growing opportunities and challenges of business ecosystems. Discussions will address key questions such as
- What does it mean to be an effective leader in a business ecosystem? What new competencies are required in these more ambiguous and richly connected environments?
- As advanced digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, and the internet of things spread, how will business ecosystems evolve?
- What governance mechanisms make sense for ecosystems?
- Are there different types of business ecosystems and, if so, what are their distinguishing characteristics?
- Under what conditions do productive ecosystems emerge? What role should the state play as facilitator and/or regulator?
- Can more generative ecosystems be designed or can they only be cultivated?
- Is any business an island? Must every manager think more expansively about achieving performance gains?
- How should a company’s broader ecosystem influence its own organizational design? In an era of networks and platforms, do we need a new “theory of the firm”?
- How do the competitive dynamics of ecosystems complicate strategy development and execution?
- Is management theory and practice keeping pace with the rapid emergence of complex business ecosystems? Do we have the concepts and tools to cope with—or better, to capitalize on—the shift?
Deputy Dean, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School
VP and chief Internet evangelist, Google
Forester de Rothschild
Founder Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism
Creative thinking pioneer and executive coach
Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, Founder of Aramex
Executive Chairman, Tupperware Brands
Professor, London Business School;
Director of the Management Innovation eXchange
Digital Anthropologist and author
CEO, Infineon Technologies Austria
Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Associate Professor, Strategy & Entrepreneurship Department, London Business School
CEO, WLJ Advisors
Entrepreneur and Business Model Innovator, Co-Founder Strategyzer
Professor of Practice at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Founder, Future Today Institute
Partner at The Innovation Architects and author
CEO of 20-first and author
Senior Advisor, Tencent Holdings Limited
Don’t expect to get simple answers.
But expect to be inspired.
Opening and Welcome at the 9th Global Peter Drucker Forum 2017