The Interconnected Parts of an Ecosystem

Credit Katri Valkokari

Now I relate very strongly to different visuals and this happens to be a current favorite of mine. It sums up the differences between the types of ecosystems we need to recognize and work through.

I came across this in a paper by Katri Valkokari, a Research Manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the Business, Innovation and Foresight research area.

Although it presses a number of buttons for me, the paper seems to have limited the differences shown here and I just want to throw this visual open just a little more, in your ‘need to know’ here and then come back to it later.

What Katri does, is provide a really good contribution into how they differ in outcomes, interactions, even a logic of actions and the different ‘actor’ roles for the three.

A return to thinking Ecosystems and Platforms Continue reading

Recapping our ecosystem and platform thoughts

For those of you following our posts about ecosystems and platforms and their importance to innovation, this is the 30th post. We thought it made sense to take a breather before pushing on to other ideas, to stop and recap what we’ve been writing about, and perhaps to place some of these ideas in context.

Paul Hobcraft and I first began talking about ecosystems and platforms several years ago, as it became more evident that innovation is often focused too narrowly, considering only a discrete product or service as its end result.

Increasingly, we believe, innovators must become first more aware of the platforms and ecosystems that exist in their markets or segments, and secondly must become more willing to innovate with regard to the platform or ecosystem, and eventually must innovate to change or disrupt the platforms and ecosystems.

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When a platform becomes an operating system

In the last post Paul wrote about Bosch, and its focus on the industrial internet of things (IIoT).  Bosch, GE and other industrial companies are attempting to create industry leading or at a minimum industry standard platforms to link industrial organizations and create standards, with the hope that new ecosystems and new solutions are built on top of those platforms.

Each of their goals is to capture, manage and exploit information generated from thousands of activities and sensors throughout the industrial platform.

Here we can the see opportunity and the challenges associated with an IIoT play:  building a platform and managing the data of an industrial giant means managing (and harvesting) a tremendous amount of data.

But it also means plugging into or interfacing with other systems and platforms, as none of these companies can create a holistic platform or replace all of the platforms and systems in a large company.  Bosch, GE and others can create really powerful and important platforms in sections or functions, but must integrate and share data with other platforms.  While they can create really powerful and compelling platforms, these platforms are by necessity limited to specific capabilities or functions.

Now for something completely different

Let’s examine then, the power and flexibility that an Amazon, for example has in its quest to build platforms through its AWS offerings.  First, it is focusing on business to consumer (b2c) or in many cases a category that Paul has coined:  consumer to consumer (c2c). Continue reading

Bosch Software Innovations will drive your connected device business

Bosch and its viewBosch takes connected devices, open platforms, and interoperability for IoT solutions to drive your business, built from their own deployed experiences. They are focusing on knowledgeable development & deployment to provide a single integrated set of ‘connecting’ solutions.

Bosch is highly focused on the design, development, and operating software and system solutions for the areas of mobility, city, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, health, home, and building, which is the core of their manufacturing offerings. They are consistently connecting all of their 270 manufacturing plants into this “connecting design” in a progressive fashion.

Bosch has a clear goal “to have each and every electronic component connectable to the internet“. To do this you have to think scale, offer platforms, clear application solutions based in the cloud and understand intimately the hardware and software within the solutions. Bosch is well positioned to deliver on this. Bosch has taken a highly unified view on their approach to this, actually, the more I dug into it the more I was impressed.

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Bosch: A Leading Platform Exemplar of Digitally Connecting

bosch-software-innovation-office-plsHow are organizations dealing with digital transformation and especially IoT? The key has to be one where sustainable success is central.

One company that really has become fully engaged in their digital transformation is Bosch, it is well on its way to being a world-leading IoT solution company, offering its expertise, solutions, and knowledge back into its own products and through this expertise also connecting this out to others, to explore and exploit through Bosch’s platform and cloud solutions.

In focusing here specifically on Bosch, we can get a fairly detailed understanding of what challenges are being tackled to connect products, customers, manufacturers, software providers into a connected world where platforms and ecosystems come alive through technology and digital application.

It is a highly complex set of challenges to complete this digitally connected set of solutions but by studying Bosch in some detail and its approach into this, can give us a very detailed understanding as an exemplary example of what they are undertaking to take a leading position in the IIoT world, to make it fully interoperable and realizable.

This path is not for the majority as they are not as well positioned as Bosch but it does give a good understanding of the level of commitment one company has decided to take, to become a leading provider of platform services in manufacturing and smart solutions.

So why am I looking at Bosch relating to ecosystems and platforms?

Let me explain this, after a fair amount of research into them to provide a detailed (enough) understanding of why I think Bosch is a leading provider of platform digital solutions today I was impressed but will it have the ability to translate this over the long term?

Bosch is seemingly wanting to become the one-stop platform provider for manufacturing and connecting all the digital transformational needs and solutions. Can it? What does this mean, is it heading for a leading de-facto industrial platform? What will other organizations need to do in their digital transformation to sit on top of Bosch’s platform?

Bosch, are for me highly relevant in understanding all the complexity that goes into forming a platform, especially in the manufacturing world today and how they are setting about getting all the parties attracted, linking and setting the conditions for the growing participation in establishing of the ecosystem between parties that are wanted to connect.

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Revolution, Platforms, Digital and the Huge Impact on Business in the Future

combining-forces-industrie-4-0-and-iccWe are all moving from the simple digitalization (3rd Industrial Revolution) to innovations based on multiple combinations of technologies, ushering in increasingly the 4th Industrial Revolution.

This is forcing everyone doing business to reexamine how they will manage this changing environment. There is a need to challenge existing assumptions, question how the operating teams need to work in the future and be ready to continually innovate.

As we gather increasingly around different platforms to undertake our business, we will continue to extend and exploit ecosystems that share and relate to our existing aims, or radically challenge them to force ‘us’ to make changes to our existing business models, so to achieve different innovation outcomes that radically alter the present business landscape.

There is a major impact on business underway, which will give such a different velocity to accelerating innovation and managing increasing disruption. Continue reading

Old economy ecosystems signal innovation opportunities

rail-crossover-points-2Paul and I have been writing mostly about ecosystems and platforms in the abstract to date, not spending a lot of time talking about specific companies or industries.

We took this approach because we wanted to establish a firm foundation about ecosystems and platforms generally, that wasn’t subject to debate about their applicability to one industry or another.

In the next several posts we will be looking at two diametrically opposed industries and the importance of ecosystems and platforms to both of these industries. Fittingly, I’ll be looking at the importance of innovation in ecosystems and platforms for an “old economy” industry – the railroads, while Paul looks at the importance of platforms and ecosystems in a new economy company – Alibaba.

On the (rail)road again… Continue reading