The Building Blocks for Managing within an Ecosystem Design

building-blocks-for-ecosystems-2The recognition that most business organizations are in need to form both new and connect into diverse ecosystems is growing. These are offering the potential of new pathways to a greater ‘connected’ innovation, expected today, one that gives increased value to the consumer.

Yet the understanding of what this means in commitment and structuring  has some clear implications behind this. Managing in ecosystem arrangements I feel requires a far greater understanding of the potential design, so you can achieve a more robust, open, dynamic and highly collaborative environment.

Jeffrey and I have argued in previous posts that working in Ecosystems will change the nature of business activities.Let me take four of these:

  • Ecosystems will have the potential to expand capabilities and enable experiences beyond anything possible today in the present world that most of our business organizations operate in; one’s that are operating in their own ‘disconnected’ world, internally focused, constrained by limited technology connection and resources.
  • Ecosystems open up the world. They connect it for a richer access to diversity and different sets of discoveries not possible within one organization’s current capabilities or capacities. It is highly collaborative and interactive.
  • It is by this very nature of opening up and interacting building a growing interdependence in relationships, that is driving the new innovation potential. One, that is looking to create and explore new business value by acting together, that offers a potential for outcomes to be greater than the sum of the individual parts.
  • As our world becomes more complex, ecosystems offer ways to coalesce around those sort of challenges, that brings together within the ecosystem community the potential to build, solve, share and exchange around goals and concepts that help solve these complexities,  achieved in highly collaborative ways.

We presently seem to lack a process of evaluation on what forms the building blocks of ecosystem validation and why entering into one can be significantly different.

Let me offer some thoughts here in a fairly long, rather detailed post that explores six critical parts: Continue reading

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Innovating the Minimum Viable Experience

minimum-viable-pathway-for-experienceThroughout our blog posts about innovation, ecosystems and platforms, we’ve maintained one core theme:  incremental, discrete product innovation will not create significant new revenues or disrupt markets.

The reasons, as we’ve discussed, include the growing expectation of seamless experiences from the consumers’ viewpoint and the rising importance of platforms and ecosystems in which new products or services exist.

Minimum Viable Footprint

Today I’d like to highlight a new idea – innovating for the “Minimum Viable Footprint”, an idea that was first proposed in Ron Adner’s book entitled The Wide Lens.  Adner defines the “Minimum Viable Footprint” or MVF as “the smallest configuration of elements that can be brought together and still create unique commercial value“.  The MVF is the logical outcome of two realities:  first, the already discussed idea that innovators need to innovate more than just a product, but must consider the ecosystem in which the product will reside, and second, the concept of a minimum viable product – something many companies already understand and practice.  Continue reading

Are you thinking about Innovation Ecosystems? You Should

All around us, we are faced with new challenges. One of those is a profound shift taking place relating to innovation. Increasingly we are seeing a growing dissatisfaction on the impact that innovation is having; in growth, in returns, in market and customer impact.

One of the implications is this growing recognition that innovation is rarely succeeding in isolation but is growing on a more highly dependent type of complementary innovation. This will have a significant impact on organizations innovation management design and approach.

Innovation ecosystems are being established that fundamentally are challenging the way we are managing currently and in the future our innovation activities, setting about our innovating of “doing things” in very radically different and more connected ways.

These are threatening to dismantle the way innovation is being managed today, and due to this, we require a radical adjustment in our approaches to achieve a far more collaborative one built on innovation ecosystem thinking.

So what is this change occurring for us to consider the value of Innovation Ecosystems? Making the case. Continue reading

Why you need an experience manager for innovation

customer-experience-journeyThrough our discussions about innovation, ecosystems and seamless experiences we’ve highlighted the fact that 1) innovation doesn’t work that well for many companies because we believe that 2) these companies create discrete products rather than fully understanding the ecosystem the products enter and 3) they don’t understand that customers are seeking seamless experiences more than ever.

If these points make sense to you, the question becomes, how do we create seamless customer experiences?  What makes up the solution?  How do ideas like the Geoffrey Moore inspired “whole product” combine with tools like customer experience journeys and design thinking to help an innovator understand the potential seamless solution?  And, how does an innovator decide what components in the ecosystem or solution they should create, and which to partner for or rely on external partners for?

I’d like to begin this post by arguing that this issue stems from another fallacy – the fallacy of being “customer centric”.  Continue reading

New innovation realities require new mindsets and tools

new-minsets-tools-and-skillsOur belief is that customer demand is changing. This will have a significant impact on the way organizations will have to adapt and change their innovation approaches in the future.

Jeffrey recently wrote this, initially on his blog site of Innovate on Purpose and reproduced here.

We felt this is an important point of understanding to bring into this dedicated site as it addresses one of the present sets of challenges we need to resolve, one of updating our innovation tools, thinking and methodologies.

Paul & I have started outlining the key needs of change here  in this dedicated site and will through an evolving series of blog posts about innovation, ecosystems, platforms discuss these changes and needs to respond to what we believe customers will ultimately demand:  seamless experiences.

Our view is as products and services proliferate and basic needs are met, customers become more sophisticated and more demanding, desiring products, services and business models that work together and don’t require configuration, integration or effort by the consumer to “make them work”.  Customers and consumers increasingly expect a seamless experience when using a new product.  If the product or service requires the customer to combine products, read manuals, acquire other products or services to make the solution work, the new product is likely to receive far less acclaim.

Understanding that, we should understand also that the tools that once helped innovators create new products aren’t the same tools that we need today when customers demand seamless experiences.  Or, put another way, those original tools are still valuable, but by themselves they solve only a small portion of the overall challenge. Let us here outline some of the present constraints or limitations to challenge and recognize our needs to shift our present thinking

Continue reading

Widen the aperture, narrow the focus

widen-the-aperture-narrow-the-focus-real-value

Today, customers are busier, smarter, have shorter attention spans and most importantly have less desire to make products or services work together.

Apple,  Amazon, and EBay are examples that  have taught customers that products, services, data, experiences, and design can all work together to provide a totally seamless experience.

Increasingly, this is what customers are increasingly wanting, and to do that you’ll need to rethink the way you innovate.

In Jeffrey Phillips post “Using ecosystems to build seamless experiences” we raised this present poor understanding within a business, that many lack a good understanding of customer needs.  Actually, it is far worse than we initially felt, still more on that later.

This is a longish read but an important one, to frame our need to think through innovation differently, through a new lens. Take your time, knowing why we need to change is critical. There is a new innovation era that holds promise if we think differently. Continue reading

Using ecosystems to build seamless experiences

source: uxmag.com

visual source: uxmag.com not text

In the first post of this series, Paul Hobcraft framed what we believe is an exceptionally important issue:  innovation doesn’t really work the way we’d like it to.  Far too often, innovation creates incremental, discrete products that don’t seem to drive customer engagement, don’t create disruption in the marketplace and don’t drive a significant amount of revenue or profit.

There are many reasons we could point to – poor understanding of customer needs, risk and uncertainty constraining innovation teams, lack of innovation process and training on the part of the innovation teams, little to no funding, and so on.  These are common challenges that innovation teams face.

However, we believe that many innovation challenges stem not from a lack of internal knowledge or capability, but from misunderstanding the customer and his or her expectations about experiences.  Customers today expect seamless experiences, supported, maintained and enabled by complex ecosystems of products, services, business models, channels, information, and complementary products and services.  Customers aren’t interested or willing to acquire disparate products and services and integrate them. Increasingly customers prefer to acquire seamless experiences, and this expectation will dramatically change how companies innovate.

The problem of narrow focus Continue reading