Deploying business ecosystems to cope with ecological transformation

Arnoud De Meyer

Professor Emeritus, Singapore Management University

At a time when businesses must innovate quickly and in support of sustainability, "going it alone" is no longer the most effective or efficient model. Business ecosystems – networks of companies, researchers and other stakeholders each involved in a given value chain – offer an effective route to companies seeking not only to find new advantages, but to drive wider systemic change.

When innovation takes place through ecosystems, often, the results are faster to diffuse through an industry or value chain. To address needs of the ecological transformation like the transition to clean fuels, this is exactly what is needed; it is no use having commercially viable and scalable sources of green hydrogen if there are no trucks ready to use the fuel, for example. This article outlines the characteristics of successful innovation ecosystems, and the practices and mindsets that business leaders must adopt to become "ecosystem leaders."