Tasked with building the agenda for the next IGNITE Summit on digital ecosystems, the sensible starting point was to figure out what on earth an ecosystem was.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one trying to do this. The excitement around the emerging ‘platform economy’ naturally leads you to examine ecosystems in more detail. Most people I talked to, from enterprises large and small, had definitions of their own. And each one added a different flavour and dimension to my research.
What came out loud and clear, was that:
1) Ecosystems are exciting.
2) They are what give platforms their astonishing growth.
3) Most enterprises don’t yet understand how to interact with what is essentially a new way of doing business.
This creates a perfect set of conditions for an IGNITE Summit.
The most well-known ecosystems are those fuelling Facebook, Netflix, Salesforce, Amazon Marketplace, Apple, eBay and Google - enabling developers to create new solutions through API-driven development. But forward-thinking people everywhere, even in the most ‘traditional’ of sectors, are investigating how ecosystems could cultivate value and boost innovation initiatives to new highs. This curious approach to a more collaborative way of working is vital as a new tech-driven world order emerges.
If you’re not a tech company lovingly nurturing your dynamic ecosystem, then where do you begin? My starting point was Haydn Shaughnessy’s excellent article, categorising the differences between the ‘innovation ecosystem’ and the platform-driven ‘advocacy ecosystem’ - and warning of the strategic dangers of confusing the two.
At IGNITE September 2016, we’ll explore how and where such ecosystems are blossoming. We're extremely excited to have several top brands willing to share their insights - here's just a selection:
- Shazam’s SVP of Brands, Miles Lewis, charts the next phase of evolution for this pioneer of digital music.
- Three’s Digital Business Partner, Greg Jenkins, explores how a new approach to leveraging data from the ecosystem can achieve a step change in customer experience and personalisation.
- Balfour Beatty’s Head of Collaboration, Iain Casagranda, shares his insights into the tech challenges of a global organisation.
Ecosystems contain powerful lessons in innovation, growth and scale, however you define them. They represent, along with platforms, a seismic shift in the way value is created in today’s digitally driven economy.