There are significant differences between the ecosystems we might consider. Let’s reflect a little here, some recap and explore some further thoughts.
They all have complexity, they all need highly collaborative platforms to exchange and build through, they all need constant focus on aligning individual ecosystem players needs with the vision and prospective rewards this can bring to all participating parties.
The more engagement with the final ‘consumer’ throughout the process of insight, discovery to solution building, to eventual proposition outcomes needs the highest ‘active’ attention and communicating for all involved.
The really big difference between B2C and B2B or M2M is the complexity within the collaborators, the scope and difficulty of the challenge they are trying to resolve. Each of the participants often has, perhaps, limited understanding or contribution but can ‘buy into’ a need or solution, forming around a system-wide vision and solution to recognize their part to play, the need to build a common language, reorient away from their own established working behavior to be adaptable to many different styles, to simply resist drawing early assumptions and find some form of ‘release’ from past approaches just built on their own experiences and see opportunity and value in potentially really different ways.
No one enters ecosystems lightly.
Most are dealing with complex adaptive system problems, searching for changing market dynamics. Be these related to many of our present “complex” challenges of cities, health, environment, mobility. These are tackling persistent problems as they are highly variable in potential solution and the hard work is defining the root causes and opportunities working on things in different, highly collaborative ways will bring. Often scale becomes critical. It is the ability to ‘pull together’ many organizations to firstly conceive, understand potential problems and opportunities more deeply and then attempt to design and deliver solutions with more novel that breaks through past ways of ‘doing things’ that transforms the past experience into one highly valued by the final user, the consumer.
To get there it is all about a deep exchange and highly collaborative effort. It is not “superimposed” by the one provider and we then react in participation or not. Multiple B2B collaborations need to be iterative, collaborative, full of co-creation and constant knowledge exchange. It is all about sharing, exchanging and valuing all those within the ecosystem that are there as they want to contribute as they see the potential for themselves and for their customers, in benefit and increased value.
When you recognize the value of combining resources you need to redefine your market. It needs to shift from the viewpoint of one (B2C) into the collective viewpoint of many. You need to take a very wide-angle approach to scope out the potential and determine the value-creation and where you see growth opportunities. You need to figure out how to reconfigure all those disparate ecosystems built up by each of the participants, synthesize problems and sketch out solution designs that ‘might’ work in this collaborative space. The platform becomes the technology vehicle to manage this through, to connect and then deliver the (final) solutions.
Unraveling problems and then addressing them, briefly some differences:
B2C is fairly uncomplicated, (yet that is all relative) you go on the chosen platform and do what is necessary, be this to book something, purchase or simply stay in touch. You, over time, build your preferences on choice of platforms that cater to your needs or interest. The provider strives for its easy of use and through understanding, constantly attempts to evolve to give you increasing value. These platform solutions seek that stickiness. So as examples both a B2C (Airbnb) and C2C (Facebook) are fairly one sided serving specific needs. They rely on content, contribution and the ability for dialogue, they allow you to be ‘seen’ and heard, to transact and connect. They are more consumption orientated.
Whereas B2B aims to get past the multiple one-off transaction events. Loyalty is built in different ways. The value has a much more compelling proposition, it goes beyond ‘just’ user-experience into a more transforming one, where it provides a new value proposition that alters your thinking and current habits. It innovates, making what you have previously relied upon as increasingly redundant as the value becomes extended. It is this “combination effect” of many joining into the ecosystem to contribute their expertise and solution contributions to firstly, unravel the challenge and then secondly, provide a solution that changes our present perception and understanding. The present industry 4.0 as an example, is shaping manufacturing differently.The whole potential within Industry 4.0 will offer greater potential for cost efficiency, increased productivity and higher levels of preventive measures, all working towards optimizing the value chain (even more) and a different customer experience value chain will emerge, all in a more collaborative and highly connected environment.
Attempting a M2M ecosystem is the most robust and most complex, managing far more participants, ecosystems, and platforms, tackling complex challenges that are aimed to transform a marketplace and change its dynamics.Many-to-many collaborations are incredibly complex and different. Here is why:
For innovators, understanding the innovation opportunities in many-to-many ecosystems is paramount. While they are more complex, more difficult to create and enter, they have to constantly seek more value, need to be longer lasting to change existing habits and will ultimately have the goal of offering more return for those involved or for the customer, greater benefit, otherwise why switch? As innovators identify and build these solutions, the key outcome must be delivering a significantly improved customer experience. If those involved fail to understand the existing customer journey how can they design a new set of solutions?
There is a host of differences that need to be required in the many-to-many collaborations we are seeing emerging today. These are ones determined to change industry dynamics and disrupt or radically alter the existing market landscape. It is the design of experiences for all involved, as any sub-par performance in the pursuit of a radical change from the start of something different to the final delivery is fraught with dangers of a poor experience, leading to a very expensive initiative that goes badly wrong, not delivering the solution that radically alters the market landscape.
See some earlier discussions on different ecosystems I suggest you might want to (re)read.
All Ecosystems are hard work, not just on what it can deliver but who you attract to work with you upon them.
We must never understate differences and difficulties within any platform solution be they B2C, B2B or M2M, it is not just customer experience but the collective experiences of all that chose to become part of a bigger ecosystem. A key not just lies within the robustness of the platform but within the participants in the ecosystem.
Although we have a multitude of options on the ecosystem choice, so much depends on three decisive factors.
- Firstly what are you wanting to achieve, as the more complex, then the more likely you will need to involve multiple parties, all contributing their expertise into a solution.Having a vision, translating that into a mission and then adjusting the ways to get there needs clarity, agility and resolution.
- Secondly , having a vision does not mean it automatically becomes a winning proposition. If you do not engage deeply with the final user consistently from day one and be ready to listen, evolve and reiterate your proposition you can face some very expensive failure lessons. Adapting as you go but staying highly focused on the end prize is critical.
- Thirdly, the robustness of your platform collaborators, their engagement, commitment and contributions is vital to be orchestrated to bring out the best from the individual contributors, all recognizing the end result is ‘greater’ for them in future value to participate and stay actively involved and fully committed too.
Ecosystems offer the transforming effect.
No, ecosystems are hard work but the promise of the ‘transforming effect’ can change the dynamics in the existing conditions that change markets, alter perspectives and create radically new ways to shift our thinking in different performance, actions, habits, behaviors and reliance into sometimes life-changing events. These become the power and potential of managing in ecosystems, they alter the environment we have known into something different, hopefully better.
Get to know and appreciate the power of ecosystems, we need them increasingly to manage in this complex world.