The voyages of discovery we all need

lens-of-discovery-nasa-imageSince early September I have been significantly focused on researching, relating and renewing my understanding of Business Ecosystems, Platforms and then what led into the power and need of improving customer end experience. This came about from having some evolving conversations with my ‘old’ sparring partner Jeffrey Phillips, over at Ovo Innovation. He nicely moved the ecosystem discussion towards capitalizing on a final outcome: achieving seamless customer experiences and our thinking began to really take off.

Jeffrey Phillips and I have collaborated around different innovation thinking for some years and in a late August discussion over Skype, we realized that what was emerging from our usual exchanges and insights was that the area of Innovation within Ecosystems was gathering pace and what did that mean for innovation in future business and practice implications.

We both have some shared as well as some different views on how this would shape up for the future. As usual in these discussions, we agreed to think about a potential collaboration on this by exchanging some opening thoughts in written exchanges. Those quickly took hold and we realized our need and the greater need was to explore and exploit the key themes of ecosystems, platforms and customer experience far more.

Intersections allow access; they open us up to new possibilities.

As a quick aside one of my favorite books written by Frans Johansson was “the Medici Effect: Breakthrough insights at the intersection of ideas, concepts, and culture.” I see the intersection of ecosystems, platforms and customer experience as one of those exciting path-breaking intersections. This intersection is having the power of networks and relationships forming and cooperating in new unique ways, in different ecosystems of collaboration, with technology connecting all the parts required up in platforms and tapping into real customer latent need, that of expecting more seamless experiences.

In Jeffrey and my latest collaboration what became different, is instead of a series of stand-alone posts or thought papers, we would place this collaboration into a dedicated “ecosystem” posting site and www.ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com was born.

Why the difference in having a dedicated website?

It is our growing understanding that all of ‘the dynamics of the system we all operate within’, is evolving all the time and in this particular intersection that we have chosen, is highly dynamic and fluid, it is evolving in front of our eyes. So to put our thinking and collaborative time into this we felt a dedicated website allowed us to post insights, knowledge, experiences and discoveries on a constant, evolving basis.

Presently, and expectantly this building of our thinking is a slow burn but I’m not uncomfortable with that, actually, it is making me comfortable. How and where this goes will be determined, partly by input and our insights but partly by the readership need and the value they place in this, so early days as we only ‘soft launched this on 22nd September 2016, a mere four weeks ago . Of course, we would like to publish more, at faster rates, but much of what constrains us is we have separate businesses to run, although this thinking will increasingly become part of these I am sure. We both have clients that need leading edge or alternative thinking and this is understanding Innovation Ecosystems is a growing topic of real interest so the returns and interest will build I’m sure.

My excitement builds as I look through different lenses of discovery

Innovation needs to have a new momentum. We need to learn far more on how we can co-create new value, a new pathway to growth and different ways to tackle vexing, even wicked problems that need this ‘coming together’. To achieve this we have to break out of our personal silos and existing mindset. We do need to learn the art of mutually collaborative innovation.

Innovation ecosystem thinking can help us to navigate away from our ‘normal boundaries’ onto different pathways to improve the existing system (market). Applying this innovation ecosystem thinking can extend our boundaries out in new shared purpose that will certainly push anyone’s thinking, it changes the dynamics from bringing together a diverse range of ecosystem participants, all coming together and altering what we know, into what we prefer, in radically different and valuable ways.

Equally, ecosystems can be powerful to tackle the critical challenges of shortage, illness, population pressures, and climate, as all are continuing to be growing societal issues; the unifying around the mechanisms to tackle these will be partly through this combining ecosystem, platform and solving the customer or end consumer needs. We need to appreciate, understand and participate within these to resolve many pressing problems.

Moving towards the tangible, recognizing many of the intangibles is not easy

I often run the risk of pursuing the theory and not translating these into practical solutions as quickly as I should. I get there but I value the journey of discovery, the voyage.  Jeffrey constantly nudges me here, as I love discovery, researching and that gaining of new knowledge and then translating this into different problem-solving approaches. He pushes harder at the solving end a lot earlier and that is what makes the ‘combination effect’ even better.

We are coalescing well in this collaborating plan, thankfully, will you join us?

The challenge of taking on much here is the thinking through this requires as it is constantly moving, changing, evolving and in mostly still a merging state, going on daily and very much now. That makes it very exciting.

My feeling on why this has growing value. We certainly need to harness, liberate, and make the possible concepts being discussed, into more tangible ones. We need to fuse different thinking into a more practical set of understandings, partly to clarify issues, offer advice, partly to grow our collective knowledge of understanding . We need to leverage on as much of the learning taking place and be well-prepared to let go of much that has shaped our innovation thinking in the past.

The whole dynamics of innovation, Jeffrey and I certainly believe is changing and collectively we all need to prepare and attempt to understand it, in its implications, value and impact.

Our personal ecosystems are dramatically expanding; can we co-create more from this?

We all live in ecosystems, they are actually expanding rapidly in knowledge, insights and value as we connect more, network harder and connect into new innovation solutions that transform our lives.They are expanding our horizons in radically different ways.

The power of the internet, the smart device held in our hand, the transforming effect that is driven by technology are giving us all more individual and allowing us to have collective power. We need to understand the transforming world where ecosystems expand, platforms facilitate and accommodate more data and customer needs all seem to accelerate.

These changes, mostly driven by technology are breaking down those previously established norms. It is causing a blurring of what we have known and fusing it into different, sometimes radically new ways to go about our daily lives, where we need to learn how we can all contribute to different and diverse communities to solve problems, contribute and eventually co-create new value.

Significant changes taking place is causing this blurring effect on much of what we have known and fusing it into different, sometimes radically new ways, to go about our daily lives. We need to learn how we can all contribute to participate in different and diverse communities to solve problems, contribute and eventually co-create new value.

A voyage of discovery can lead to changing our perspectives

I’m excited by the prospect of exploring innovation ecosystems and I hope I can contribute some understanding of why we need to change much within our innovating activities, so our innovations connect far more in the future, to tackle the pain points we all can see around us.

Tune into the new website www.ecosystems4innovating.wordpress.com. We are wanting to offer our thoughts, insights, and emerging solutions, along with the ones that many, far more notable people and organizations are providing, in their insights and understanding on ecosystems, platforms and customer experiences from the value these can provide from the innovating perspective.

Our contributing value, we hope is in bringing these together in combining our thinking and experiences, in this intersection of ecosystems, platforms and customer experience, where these ideas and concepts collide and where the ‘combination effect’ is  providing outcomes that can contribute to thinking about the innovation potential and future growth prospects in new, potentially really exciting ways.

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