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Leading Your Firm's Ecosystem

October 15, 2016


Managing the data that flows from IoT devices often means connecting in new and more complex ways with a wide range of organizations and managing new kinds of relationships with important stakeholders.  For example, WASH relies heavily on its 50,000 customer partners, payment processors, equipment vendors, and telecommunication providers - and they rely on WASH.


ARM, a UK-based developer of processor architectures for IoT chips, provides an example of collaborating with partners in a very profitable ecosystem built around an open platform. How do firms decide on the right time to enter or form an ecosystem, assess risks, and determine their roles (including whether they should lead)? If leadership is appropriate, how open an approach should the firm take? Michael Barrett of the University of Cambridge answered these questions at a recent Advanced Practices Council meeting, held in Philadelphia, in September of this year (2016).  He provided cases of successful ecosystems and provided a checklist of questions to address, some of which may be useful to you:


As a Collaborating Firm:

  • Who else is part of the ecosystem and how are partners selected?

  • Is it ecosystem young enough to be influenced and can we influence it?

  • Are we in a market where novelty and first mover advantage are valuable?

  • Are we "market ready" to demonstrate value and leverage the ecosystem?


As an Ecosystem Leader:

  • How are we developing your vision and value in the long and short term?

  • How are we limiting which stakeholders are able to join?

  • How are we attempting to define roles and stakeholder contributions?

  • How are we shaping norms of collaboration and competition?

  • How are we limiting short-term  domination of proprietary value?










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