Introduction of the May 2013 first edition of Shared Purpose: A Thousand Business Ecosystems, a Worldwide Connected Community, and the Future

Nobel-prize-winning economist Oliver Williamson writes that 100 years ago the profession of economics split along two lines: one group went toward a price model, the other toward achieving shared purpose in organizations.[i] The price mechanism had the great advantage of making our economy more friction-free because you and I can trade freely even if you …

Demand disruption

Sometimes technology stagnates and markets don’t give us what we want.  What can we do when this happens?  Demand disruption!  As a buyer we can insist that our suppliers form a collaborative, idea-sharing business ecosystem—with their direct rivals.  We can insist that those who are central to the current industry do what they can to …

Explore beyond the edge

Business ecosystems form around problems to solve and pain to soothe.  More problems are beyond the frontier of our current business landscape than within it. Nurture new business ecosystems beyond the frontier.  Get to know the people beyond the edge, whose opportunities are cut short by problems we may be able to solve. Survey and …

Reach to everyone

Liberate powerful technologies from the few.  Let everyone gain access to technology and expand their personal opportunities. Applied technology enriches daily life, saves labor and reduces costs and risks. As technologists we know this from personal experience. To reach a wider sphere of customers we can design our business ecosystems to produce a range of …

Wrap an ecosystem around every product and service

Every product and service is also a marketplace for further products and services that enrich the opportunities customers can pursue.  We provide value by selecting and recruiting these resources, categorizing, testing and certifying them.  We are in a prime position to collect and publish customer feedback, continuously improving the ecosystem.  When we increase the access …

Draw deeply from science and engineering

Science and engineering are the most fundamental inputs to innovation in a business ecosystem.  University and private labs are rich sources of ideas. Bringing an idea forward requires a team of experts including those who understand the discovery and those who know the industrial situation.  The typical time frame for moving a discovery out of …

Take just enough

Greed spoils business ecosystems.  Open ecosystems are gift economies that depend on reciprocal care.  They require considering a situation from all sides. Get clear on a fundamental choice:  you can grow your business by growing the ecosystem and advancing the opportunities for your customer.  You can also grow a business — at least in terms …

Open it

The human, technical and economic benefits of open ecosystems and the connected community are so dramatic that it seems nothing can stop them.  On the other hand, a problem internal to the community itself might be posed by the actions of a rogue operator — for example a patent troll or hostile takeover opportunist.  In …

I Thou

Emotional intelligence is perhaps the most important attribute of effective members of an open business ecosystem.  Professional expertise matters a great deal, but if not expressed with maturity and care, the close relationships on which the ecosystem depends cannot function.  Human resources strategies can be designed to recruit, train, motivate and promote those with emotional …