Bridging the Gap from Movements to Ecosystems
by Meg Seitz

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I walked into last year’s Global Peter Drucker Forum thinking that movements are big, full expressions of just about anything – ideas, music, business, people. They’re rallies, crusades, forums. They tackle culture-shifting topics. They’re almost too big to grasp. After two days at the Forum, and as a panelist on the Final Fireworks session, I realized that as grandiose as movements can be, they’re really simple. They’re one person tuning in to a gut feeling – and taking the responsibility to do something about it. Flying out of Vienna, I felt naive. Like, I’d just expressed classic liberal arts graduate optimism. One person. Right. How. Drucker Forum 2019 This article is one in the “shape […]

Could partnering capability be the Achilles’ heel of ecosystems?
by Jan Twombly, CSAP and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, PhD

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Partnering in the ecosystem era For any of the transformative effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be fully realized, it will take an ecosystem of partners agilely working together in an orchestrated, yet open model. To add to the complexity, every customer scenario needs a different mix of partners, requiring stewardship of the ecosystem to have the partnerships to call upon when needed. Thus, technology and partnering in combination are today’s business imperative. Ecosystem partnering brings together multiple companies with different capabilities and resources, different business models, and increasingly, various industry orientations to provide a holistic “solution” for a use case or specific customer situation. Numerous partnering models and value propositions are possible. Drucker […]

Ecosystems: a new frontier for de-bureaucratization?
by Erhard Friedberg

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Describing in his HBR article of May-June 1993 the challenges an ecological approach to business strategy brings with it, James Moore emphasized that we have to keep in mind that business ecosystems are not co-evolving organisms, but social systems the larger patterns of which are maintained by a complex network of choices made by real people with their bounded rationalities. The obvious implication of this remark is that when talking about ecosystems, we have to leave the lofty heights of strategy, targets, goals and corporate communication, to focus instead on what Philip Selznick has called the operative systems on which the functioning of ecosystems will depend. The view from the top argues that the functioning […]

Wading through the swamp: the radical power of ecosystems-as-processes
by David Hurst

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The respected management scholar, Donald Schön, began his 1987 book, The Education of the Reflective Practitioner, as follows: “In the varied topography of professional practice, there is a high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, management problems lend themselves to solution through the application of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowland, messy confusing problems defy technical solution. The irony of this situation is that the problems of the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant to individuals or society at large, however great their technical interest might be, while in the swamp lie the issues of greatest human concern. The practitioner must choose. Shall he remain on the high ground […]