Ecosystems Panels

Senior Executive Panels and Interviews

In January of 2022, Haier contracted Outthinker to initiate a study of Haier’s unique management model, RenDanHeYi, and, more broadly, its concept of the “Ecosystem Brand.” Our research included a series of panel discussions we organized around this topic incorporating about 25 senior corporate leaders, as well as interviews with several of today’s leading authorities on the topic of organizational strategy and innovation.


Notes from a series of panels of strategy heads of large enterprises conducted for this research.

Healthcare Panel

Claus Jensen – Chief Innovation Officer, Teladoc Health
Lieke van Kerkhoven – Co-founder FLOOW2
Sukanya Soderland – Chief Strategy Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

Healthcare has always consisted of ecosystems (payers, providers, regulators), but few companies have tried to leverage it intentionally. Is there an opportunity to leverage these ecosystems more productively, and how does it differ from tradition?

  • Claus: The answer lies in the nature of healthcare. In last 100 years, we’ve become much more capable. Capability means specialization, which has driven fragmentation. Players become categorized (payors specialize in certain products, providers specialize in conditions.) I spent two years working with MSKCC—highly specialized in dealing with cancer. 100 years of specialization and fragmentation has formed a highly complex scenario—ecosystems of providers and roles. As long as we become more capable, we will have specialization. Institutions need to answer the question: Is there a role to play to amplify the larger healthcare value? Take on the role of orchestrating and amplifying. I think this is happening because when we were forced to embrace a hybrid care model, some of the barriers broke. There is an oppty for a company to step up to be an amplifier instead of a disruptor. 
  • Sukanya: The opportunity is to move the market and the industry from focus on sick care to improving people’s health. Moving from the break fix to working upstream—lifestyle and choices. Diet, exercise, drinking, prescribed medication, stress have a material impact (70% of the healthcare cost dollar.) We have the oppty to understand and influence behavioral motivational profiles of individuals and offer interventions to make healthier decisions. Oppty is going from US $3.5T market in primarily sick care to double the value around greater health. We have seen a lot of specialization. Clayton Christensen’s theory suggests that when industries are more nascent, they are more integrated, and as they become more sophisticated, they become more specialized. In healthcare, we’ve gone through the arc. We have a lot of sophistication and bifurcation. We are entering a new era, an inflection point where there is a desire to integrate and pull together. And many are angling to become the orchestrator.

What do companies need to change in order to be successful?

  • Lieke: The main issue is the mindset. We can come up with rational structures, new products, business models—these are the external tangible assets of what is happening inside. We tend to ignore the inside in the greater goals we are trying to achieve. If we keep thinking linearly as we’ve always done, that we need to grow and do more, then we will always stay on the same track. We need to become aware of the forces that are driving us, the way we rate our employees, or nothing changes. You’ll keep coming with new deals but you’ll be trying to get a square peg to fit a round hole. It will never fit—trying to fit new solutions into your old system will always give you friction. We need a quest for more consciousness. We need a spiritual development—not religion, but letting go of traditional thought systems and conventions, returning to ourselves and reevaluating our relationships and environment. Only then can we emerge in a new way and really change. 

Teladoc has been successful in setting new standards and setting up new ventures to tackle healthcare. What has been the main challenge in changing that mindset?

  • Claus: It really is a mindset shift; you have to redefine the problem. The problem so far has been becoming more capable, but the problem is changing. Now we have to do a better job of integration. Customers want a whole-person health experience. Not just about shifting from sick care to healthcare. That’s important, but it’s also about the whole person—primary care to chronic care management to mental health to any other specialty need. To an individual, that’s one problem. The whole premise for Teladoc Health is to solve that problem, to give people a different whole health experience. This requires a couple paradigm shifts:
    • 1) Acknowledge that care happens in different settings, physical and virtual. For some things, virtual is good and for others it’s not. 
    • 2) Whole person health means whole person orchestration. We need to make the system better, not replace it. You have to sell your value proposition three times if you want to be an amplifier—sell to payor part of the ecosystems, sell to provider part, sell to health consumer. Need the right value prop for payors, providers, consumers. If you look at every other industry that has successful ecosystem platforms, there isn’t one in healthcare because it’s more complicated. Need a fundamental shift in the thought model around the problem and how you go about solving it. 
    • If you actually want to deliver amplified whole person health, you need 5 sciences: 1) clinical 2) technology to reach people where they are 3) logistics in a really complicated ecosystem 4) behavioral 5) data science. We can’t address the problem without a multidisciplinary approach. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield has been trying to innovate for years as a traditional, legacy company. There is a lot of pain in transitioning—people need to change the way they operate and their learning curve. How has that experience been?

  • Sukanya: We’ve been trying for a while and BCBS Massachusetts did drive a revolutionary change in the industry over a decade ago. Pioneered the alternative quality contract which shifted the payment model for providers from a fee-for-service to fee-for-value. That was a major shift. It has been successful but there is a lot more to be done to deliver whole value, holistic health (physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, financial all interdependent). BCBS Mass is trying to make a dent in the application of our work relative to eliminating health disparities—equity work. 
    • Example: Magnolia Model is a framework for understanding various levels of systemic bias that can influence a situation. We’ve made public commitments to how we deploy interventions using that lens– including paying providers. Change is hard for traditional incumbents, we can’t underestimate that. It can be powerful to tap into purpose to help overcome fear. Our org has rallied around equity. That makes it easier to talk about doing things differently. It’s about shifting to a growth mindset. If we want to grow the pie, we have to think about how we interact with others—not elbow them out but work together. That requires building trust and aligning on shared purpose and vision. Need to align incentives and trust, or it will be impossible to get things done. 

As an outsider looking across many companies, there is a huge shift from competition to collaboration. What other challenges and experiences have you faced?

  • Lieke: FLOOW2 makes sharing marketplaces. We create digital environments that healthcare orgs use to create transparency of supply and demand for goods, services, and equipment to trade between each other or internally. We started in 2012, the circular economy was and is still very young. We’ve been on a mission of spreading the WHY it’s smarter to share and collaborate rather than the everyone for themselves mentality that we’ve inherited from the industrial age. Then the crisis in 2020 happened and it became so clear that everyone for themselves mentality has made us vulnerable. There were new demands on the system and they were not finding each other. Demand for an informal network—we created a nationwide platform for the Dutch healthcare system hospitals and long-term elderly and disability care (who weren’t included in government initiatives.) We created one platform that everyone can use. In a time of crisis, suddenly collaboration and transparency were the only solutions. Outside of crisis, it’s a beautiful vehicle to stimulate collaboration, reduce healthcare costs, and work more sustainably. 
    • For the current situation in the Ukraine, we are using our platform for help organizations advertise the things they need so we can ask hospitals if they have. Targeted aid to the right people to the right place. The value of collaborating and creating win-win situations is very effective.

COVID drove a lot of interest in new technologies to solve pandemic-related problems. How is that evolving as we move on from the pandemic? 

  • Lieke: The pandemic has catalyzed that mindset change. When we launched the marketplace, the reaction was “How is this new? Why didn’t we have this five years ago?” You can imagine my frustration since we have been doing this for years. But I’m actually glad at this reaction because it shows that the mindset has come a long way. Now orgs are using it to save on procurement costs or they can do something with what they don’t use anymore. In the Netherlands, possibly in other countries, there are strict targets on reducing your CO2/carbon footprint so it helps orgs to prove what they are doing.

Moving onto management… there are so many areas to tackle and integrate. What is changing in the way traditional healthcare systems manage their operations?

  • Claus: I’ll jump off from Sukanya’s comment about purpose. Purpose drives how you set up your operating model and how you think about managing your resources and relationships. Teladoc’s mission statement is to empower all people everywhere to live their healthiest lives by transforming the healthcare experience. It doesn’t say give everybody virtual care or replace the existing system. It says help people live their healthiest lives. If you start with that and then ask the question, “what do you have to do from a resource and management perspective?” you get to a different place than if you started with treating people. You get to answer the question, “what can I do to help people live their healthiest lives?” ~80% of healthcare outcomes are derived from primary care, chronic condition management, and mental health. This is a huge chunk of what needs to happen. If it was possible to deliver an integrated, holistic experience just among those 3, that would make a difference. Management systems change according to the problem you’re trying to solve. Our scope is based on those 3 systems. We have a 100-year-old problem and it’s time that we solve it together.

Purpose needs to be reflected in incentives, KPIs, and management. Blue Cross Blue Shield was a pioneer in this area—focusing on patient impact rather than traditional outcomes. How has that shifted management for the organization?

  • Sukanya: When trying to do new things as an incumbent, you’re trying to sustain the way things have been done and simultaneously trying to find ways to do something really different, which often requires a different operating model. The challenge is to have both. The work that gets done in the traditional way of operating typically follows straightforward swim lanes. When we’re trying to do new things, we start talking about boundary-crossing, multifunctional teams. Discarding the old way of working. Currently, we have both—the old model to sustain ourselves to meet our members’ needs efficiently, and the new initiative that cuts across the org. We have to organize in a different way, incent in a different way.

What would you want your clients to change? You have a perspective of talking to so many players who are collaborating. What would make them more effective in using your collaboration tools?

  • Lieke: Sharing interferes in the procurement process. The easiest way to buy things is through your own org’s ordering portal. We’ve seen some orgs make a new policy if they have an internal sharing marketplace. So, if you want to buy something, you have to first go check if a colleague or someone outside the organization has it. If they don’t, you can go through their regular process. 
    • Top-down usage also works, but it’s not my favorite. I prefer bottom-up when people use the platform and experience the advantage. For example, we have a platform pharmacists use to exchange medication that is approaching the expiration date. This is typically expensive medication that was ordered for a specific patient but now won’t be used. It sits on the shelf and eventually has to be discarded. The medication production process is the number 3 most hazardous ecological production process in healthcare. Saving medicine from unnecessary destruction is helpful. We started this but it’s actually illegal in Europe. We did it under the radar had huge success, saved 50,000 euro in six months. Then the mainstream awarded us a prize, and then realized it was actually illegal. But it got us a seat at the right table. We went through a 1.5 year process to change our process so that it falls in the “grey area” of the rules. Now we get responses that it’s easy to use—pharmacies do well and save 30-50% from the wholesale price. We’re crossing the corner of critical mass where the experience starts to spread.

Regulation can sometimes be a big constraint. What needs to change in the general approach to regulation? 

  • Sukanya: In the last few years in the US we’ve actually seen positive transformations in healthcare regulation. For example, the data interoperability rules that emerged enable consumers to access their data and grant access to other 3rd parties as they see fit. That unleashes a lot of potential in the marketplace, because the US has had an incredible amount of data silos, shrouded data. We’re at a point where there is enough recognition of the problem that there is pressure on the gov’t to solve. We would like to be able to preemptively address some of those issues before regulators prescribe a solution. Sometimes regulation can become very restrictive.

Teladoc has historically struggled with regulation by pushing and making an example of how regulation could change. What would you add?

  • Claus: It comes back to the purpose. What is the purpose we’re trying to solve for? All regulation usually comes from a good heart. Sometimes it’s a little out of tune. The pandemic accelerated trends that probably would’ve happened anyway and regulation hasn’t caught up. We need to figure out what happens when emergency measures expire. Ex: There are state level rules in terms of what you can/cannot do with virtual care. We need the regulation to catch up to hybrid care. We need regulation that supports a “front door” to health needs—timely, convenient, effective for consumers and physicians and consumers. We make choices every day to give people the experience that actually makes a difference. We’ve been able to deliver mental health support in days, weeks to Eastern Europe during the current crisis.

What advice would you give to healthcare players for joining ecosystems?

  • Lieke: Just give it a try. Stop coming up with reasons not to. Usually, it’s hiding behind conventions and fears. See how it works for you.
  • Sukanya: It’s hard to bring out the crystal ball to see what’s going to be successful and what won’t. It requires trying things and learning from that. 
    • There are a few different factors critical for success 1) Addressing an underlying need and that the ecosystem can address multiple needs in a cohesive way, 2) Ensuring that your vision aligns with the ecosystem’s vision. Mindset, shared culture, governance, 3) Have the right incentives in place and understand the value levers for every party in the ecosystem. How does my piece fit in and reinforce? 4) How will you get to scale? One of the biggest challenges in healthcare right now. We have islands of innovation disconnected from each other. Most of the action is still happening on the mainland of large incumbents. What’s your strategy to get to scale quickly?
  • Claus: Be really crisp about the problem you’re trying to solve—holistic, whole person health. Understand your part and what you contribute. Mindset: I’m not replacing healthcare; I’m making it better. And you need a road to scale, which always means working with other orgs. Scale requires collaboration, that we are trying to amplify and orchestrate each other.

Education Panel

Adam Zalisk – SVP Corporate Strategy, Amplify
Ken Eng – SVP Strategy & M&A, Macmillan
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

What does an ecosystems approach mean for education? What is the purpose?

  • Adam: In K-12, there has been a substantial transformation as recently as past 18 months. Digital education as a coherent way to run the learner’s experience has become actually plausible (due to 1-to-1 computing, bandwidth access, school closures drove more investment and revealed gaps). Changes the tools and experience of the educator. Previously, the school day was atomized into scheduled chunks. Now those disparate pieces have come to exist in one place, digitally. Educators are looking at the entire value, greater efficiency, integration, cumulative insight, creates deep student engagement. Educators are pushing companies to make this ecosystem work together in service of the end user.
  • Ken: There has been tremendous change in the last two years. Improved access for all. Market was fragmented and the orchestrators have made it easier to access content, tools, services in one place. Technology has created efficiencies and challenges—need for support for all levels. Companies have to step up to support and rise to the challenge.

How do you align with ecosystems?

  • Adam: We don’t choose ecosystems in the abstract, we look at the ecosystem surrounding end user and figure out how those pieces can best work together and create value. That’s how you select where to be and find relevant collaborators and partners. Makes us collaborate with unlikely partners—coopetition. We think outside the commercial playbook and think about making content free to learn from user feedback. Creates long-term advantage for our organizations. How can we be an effective aggregator of many of the things our users need (highest quality instruction)? Combine what we know about how to teach with a layer of tech and support that makes it come alive in the classroom. Participating in the ecosystem is about developing the capability to bring together the whole portfolio. 
  • Ken: Depends whether you are an orchestrator or participant in the ecosystem. Looking for partnerships and collaborators with similar values, expertise and reach, willingness to share. We are more externally-facing than we’ve ever been. Collaborating with content, technology, data with a focus on helping customers. Partnerships are more successful when there is a lot of information symmetry. Shifting traditional values to more openness to share—this is foundational. 

What changes, new competencies or processes to you need to establish in your organization to succeed with ecosystems?

  • Adam: Two key capabilities: 1) Cultivate deeper and closer relationships with our customers so we understand how they experience the ecosystem around them. Where do they see gaps? Where do they experience blurred lines? 2) An ability to partner with orgs that are very different than yours (example: translate university research to make it accessible to schools all over the world)
  • Ken: The ability to listen more, deeply understand customers/partners/collaborators. Dedicated resources who really understand the underlying needs of each party you’re interacting with.

How to create seamless customer experience through ecosystems, when you are an orchestrator?

  • Ken: More co-designing and co-creation
  • Adam: Look where very small players are capturing huge market share in a short time. Quickly changing the game.
  • Ken: We’ve tapped into the emerging ed-tech community. Different ideas and perspectives. As an investor, partners (co-creation of products, distribution, advisory). Cultivated intrapreneurs and brought in entrepreneurs.
  • Adam: Generosity can be as powerful of a tool as direct strategic competition. Finding the right ways to share on behalf of the customer, in ways that expand the customer experience. How products relate to one another. Strengthen our ties by sharing advice and guidance to community of smaller players. It’s a power that as strategists we don’t always think to use.

What are the next key trends/breakthroughs in education ecosystems?

  • Adam: 1) More blurred lines across traditional categories (greater efficiencies for educators and learners), 2) Aggregated info on a student through their authentic performance. Spotlight on end user.
  • Ken: Energy focused on microsegments of students, different populations. Human element comes back into the fold

What do you recommend to organizations who want to apply an ecosystems mindset?

  • Ken: Start experimenting, map out stakeholders in your system. Understand where you could bring value and where you could benefit from outside capabilities. Take the leap.
  • Adam: Listen (the outcome is different experiences—listen to the humans involved). Question where you’re falling into old patterns of how you think about competition.
  • Ken: The sum of the parts is greater than each part. Potential to solve meaty problems is high. Start.

Hiring and Staffing Panel

Ayman Hamid – Executive Director of Global Business Services, Allegis Global Solutions
Tom Gallo – Head of Strategy & Innovation, ABM Industries
Ying McPherson – Chief Strategy Officer, Unifi
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

Ecosystems have been around for a long time in staffing industry, but they’ve taken on a new form since technology was absorbed by the players (ex: online job boards, recruitment outsourcing, vendor management systems.) What has changed and how is it different from the past?

  • Ayman: Staffing industry is impacted greatly by technology. I’m head of transformation as it relates to technology (VMS platforms, platforms for sourcing and gig work). How do you unify all of these platforms in a competitive ecosystem? Companies that adopt a strategy around ecosystems and learn to compete with an ecosystem will be much more successful in the future vs. traditional success of coming up with an individual company value proposition.
  • What has changed in the value chain? What greater opportunities do companies have now?
  • Ayman: Hiring people just to get work done is getting much more challenging. Need to use data to understand capabilities of current full-time workforce and leverage that. Learning how to access data and info on your current workforce and the way you acquire talent today is essential to getting work done in the future. 
  • Ying: At Unifi Aviation, everything we do is centered around airports, many of our clients are minimum wage. Historically, we didn’t even have a pool of potential candidates. Today, technology is evolving. Pandemic added an additional layer. In our environment it’s been traumatic and a lot of pressure. We also have regulation, government subsidized funding, balance of union vs. non-union.
    • Now there is more underlying technology and candidates are getting hit from multiple channels/companies. We’re almost in a completely different ecosystem than we were two years ago (in the aviation industry). We are weeding through the noise to figure out which changes are temporary vs. permanent. We’re looking at a more sustainable, long-term approach to staffing.
  • Tom: We have similar challenges to Ying. 100,000+ team members in the US, many hourly minimum wage and a little higher, spanning across skill levels. Right now, we’re focusing on candidate experience. It’s the first look into your company. If that experience is bad, the odds of accepting the role and showing up are not good. How do we ID the right channels to communicate w/ candidates we want to bring in for a role? In the pandemic we’ve had to transition.
    • A cultural phenomenon is how easy it is to download an app onto your phone and know what you need to do—in a corporation it’s not always like that. Employees/applicants expect the experience of getting a job to be the same as using their phone. It’s challenging to meet that need with enterprise software. 

How are you handling the competition for candidates during the Great Resignation?

  • Ying: We’re experiencing a lot of the same challenges as Tom. Our candidate pool is different. In 2020, the people who are most sensitive to the elements left work first and are last to come back. You probably preserved your best employees. We did a lot of investigation into why people stay. What’s driving them? How do we rebuild around that employee and their feedback to attract people with shared core values of the company? Use them to act as front-line ambassadors. Pandemic helped us streamline who we are.
    • From the new employee standpoint, we’re focused on employee experience. We have 50-50 male-female, 70% diverse. In each city we have a mini-ecosystem. We don’t want a one-size-fits-all model. We allow the local team to refine and define their ecosystem. We have high attrition rate, it’s easy to download an app and easy to delete. We are focused on company values and location values. Be clear and up front about the expectations and what the job entails—using 10-20 second videos so hires know what they are getting into. Demonstrate local family, rely on local vetting. Using technology to give standardized tools, but allow local flexibility. Some people get very creative. Normal channels are drying up.

Companies are getting creative about reaching the right candidates. How are larger players responding?

  • Ayman: The Resignation is happening to all of us. The focus on retaining our people is critical. Everyone is focused on attracting talent, but need to focus on retaining. Onboarding needs to be better than pre-pandemic. Brand experience is critical. Before, staffing companies didn’t need to know as much about what it was like to work at a company. Now they need to articulate the value prop once an employee comes on board. The experience of an employee starts much earlier than pre-pandemic—every visual, every message is part of the brand. Staffing companies need to align with brand strategy.

What needs to change in management, processes, systems to participate in this new world?

  • Tom: The teaming required is very different. You’re seeing more strategy and transformation offices popping up. Be able to articulate the user journey, processes, technology. It helps define the ecosystem. Map out the playing field and figure out where you need to go. The ecosystem works when you understand the goals of each stakeholder.
  • Ying: Our strategy team didn’t really exist a year and a half ago. Went from a shop of two to twelve. We created a dedicated function for employee engagement. We refined our priorities and focus around data. It didn’t matter in the past when we had enough people in the pipeline. Now every candidate is golden. The last thing you want is losing them in the pipeline process after you’ve spent resources attracting them. We are being very intentional around speed and data, investing speed and manpower to know every candidate. Why did we lose them? Where did we lose them to? Helps us figure out what’s working and where to focus. Spend more effort building the right profile. 

What’s changed in management for the big providers?

  • Ayman: For larger organizations—ones where we help manage their workforce strategy—you can get lost in thinking they have different strategies because they’re bigger. It comes down to the user experience and how fast you can influence it. Can you understand where people are in the process quickly? Larger orgs are just doing it at scale. Need to leverage technology more, automate as much as you can and figure out where to put the human touch in people getting jobs. Technology can be exciting but when people accept jobs it’s a very personal experience. It’s about striking a balance.

ABM Industries and Unifi are big orchestrators of staffing ecosystems. There is an additional challenge of seeing so many new technologies and providers promising new uses of data and enhanced employee experience. The HR tech industry is filled with recruiters. How do you choose partners in your ecosystem?

  • Ying: Over the last 3.5 years we went through two HRI systems, three if you count the legacy system. We have yet to find the perfect solution. It’s either great but doesn’t integrate with existing systems or it’s fully integrated but provides limited functionality. The best system is the one that works for the industry and company. 
    • Airport badging process can take anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks. That’s difficult in competitive labor market. We lose candidates in the onboarding process. How do you keep engaging folks during that 6 weeks time period? We’ve been picking partners that give the most flexibility in connectivity with employee during waiting period. 
    • We’re spending more time figuring out the likelihood that the employee will be successful in that location. We can’t control the pay but we can control the culture fit and get feedback.
  • Tom: I would add two things. We’ve had to add capabilities we didn’t have before (advanced architecture, application development, the ability to integrate systems internally). We need to bring systems up to a level that applicant can consume functionality. Building technical capabilities internally is key in this environment where there isn’t a perfect solution. We’re a highly distributed workforce in 10,000-20,000 locations across the country that aren’t our facilitates. Creating a digital experience for team members is challenging to get them to feel part of an org when they don’t step in a door with the ABM logo. Need to give a compelling reason to come back every day.

Some organizations use multiple providers. From a vendor perspective, how do you make an effort to integrate systems and manage multiple vendors in a company’s ecosystem?

  • Ayman: You’re looking for capabilities that enhance or complement what the other partners have. We build an ecosystem so that the collective whole provides what the customer wants. That’s challenging.
    • For technology, you need to make it easy to integrate and access the data you have. Make it easy to understand the analytics and info the data tells you. That’s the difficult part. There are so many integrations out there and so much data, it can be difficult to determine a strategy. You also need to align partners to your strategy. 

What would you recommend to companies to join and gain the support of ecosystems?

  • Tom: Map out the ecosystem. You need to know the playing field. And you need a vision of where you want it to go. Where do you want to be 3, 5, 10 years from now and what do you need to do to get there?
    • Change management is also a huge component. We’ve been talking about technology and the human element, but then there are the people that support technology. There’s someone behind technology and we have to figure out how to make the processes better.
  • Ying: Any ecosystem has 4 core elements: 1) The non-living portion. The elements that create the environment that is conducive for an ecosystem. 2) Producers at the bottom that initiate the lifeblood of the ecosystem—candidates and the need for an employee workforce 3) Consumer of the chain of the ecosystem 4) Decomposers who recreate the elements and contribute to the elements. We have to figure out the ecosystem we’re in today and which of the 4 stages. Some categories are more mature. Newcomers add a different element.
  • Ayman: Your ability to be flexible and understand what problem you’re really solving for the client is important. Clients are looking for solutions to help them today. Look for companies who can articulate value today and are willing to progress with you tomorrow. Allow your value prop to evolve with the ecosystem. Understand who you are today and what you offer, and that your value in the future may be something different. If you can be agile, you’ll have more success in the future.

Housing and Real-estate Ecosystem Panel

Eric Chesin – Chief Strategy Officer, Realogy
Doug McNamee – President, Magnolia
Mateusz Troicki – VP Strategy, Kohler
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

People are buying homes differently. There are many more platforms to make a home-buying decision, build and decorate our homes. There is a big shift in how people acquire and define their home space. What is the opportunity for the companies playing in this field? How is it different from the past? 

  • Eric: We have to think holistically about the way a consumer and home-buyer interacts with all companies across the ecosystem. 10-15 years ago, the three companies here would rarely interact. Realogy is in residential real estate brokerage, we have real estate agents who help people buy and sell homes. Over the last few years, consumers are thinking more holistically about living in a home. We’ve got the oppty to partner across the ecosystem to serve consumer in new better ways—helping renovate and decorate homes. For the consumer, it’s all one big interaction with their home purchase.
  • Doug: Consumer savviness and business is underestimated. They’re looking for brands they can trust to guide them through the process. Need cooperation. Customers notice truth and will sniff out disingenuous relationships. Companies are responding to behaviors of consumer, that’s why ecosystems are forming.
  • Mateusz: Actually, ecosystems have been around for a long time under different names. Without an ecosystem, you have to drive a better product or price on an individual basis. Ecosystems create loyalty but also barriers to change—you have to be careful to build customer value rather than just locking customers in. 

How do you decide to align in an ecosystem? How do you choose the best partners?

  • Eric: Progress has been driven by consumer choice. Companies that play in different spaces but focus on the same consumers are anchored on where compatibility is better for the consumer. We are constantly evaluating potential partners. We believe in open ecosystems in terms of which partners we give customers access to. Give consumer choice and the best products win. The guiding light is: Who will best service our consumer? How do we set up a structure that doesn’t constrain choice but enhances it?
  • Doug: One of the early lessons was, who you say no to is more important than who you say yes to. There are opportunities to expand and partner in every space. It goes back to trust. We have a celebrity brand where people feel they have a relationship—you have a limited amount of errors before you lose them and never get them back. If you partner in a space you shouldn’t be in and aren’t effectively managing your business, it can blow up quickly. Be sure you can deliver results or can trust your partner to deliver.
  • Mateusz: Kohler is a legacy, brand-driven company supported by innovation, design, premium products. That’s #1. A lot choice of products in home or office comes down to procurement. You need to make it easy for someone to purchase. At the same time you need the pull of the consumer. Procurement officer pushes for the lowest price but wants something that will delight customer. 
    • Ecosystem for homes is collaborating across the chain from the builder to contractor who re-do bathrooms/kitchens. The ecosystem is a means to an end. But it’s still a consumer-driven decision.
    • There’s a bit of a “watch out” feeling when it comes to ecosystem. If you are a node, consumer brand that is replaceable, attaching to an ecosystem can be scary and may have negative consequences. (Ex: Amazon, If you don’t have a strong brand and have success, Amazon product development teams could copy your product. Almost better to stay under the radar). Look at the long-term implications of the ecosystem choices you make.
  • Doug: There can be a short-term gain with long-term vulnerability (when working with powerful players). If you’re playing a long game, it can be dangerous. But it is what the consumer is asking for. It goes against doing what you do well and owning your space—once you go wider the tendency is losing your core competencies. Need to be able to trust your partners when you show vulnerabilities.

Realogy is an orchestrator in the home space. You have a lot of smaller partners that may not have the chance to become big brands. What is your perspective? 

  • Eric: Our position is a deep privilege. I wouldn’t call it orchestration because you can start anywhere in an ecosystem. The general theme in this conversation is, there is no shortcut to excellent products and excellent delivery. Anywhere on the path of ecosystems will fall over if you don’t stand behind your brand and create loyalty. There’s safety in knowing that everyone has that as a north star. There’s some magic when we all in an ecosystem keep our head down and focus on what we do best. 

What’s changing in the way you manage your organization as ecosystems become more complex?

  • Mateusz: Ecosystem is a mentality more than it is a system. It becomes a system if you are successful. In an org, people have to start thinking and collaborating differently internally and externally. The consumer thinks about the portfolio and its value. Companies need to change how they sell a service portfolio as one product over a period of time. The journey starts with the sale, rather than ending there.
  • Doug: Seek out generalists in leadership—who have a wide range of expertise in different spaces. Go outside the box, use people from other sides of the business spectrum to get a new perspective on what has been successful elsewhere. Embrace a disruptive mentality.
  • Eric: We sit at the center of a real estate transaction. That is an ecosystem with many parts and players to work well. You need enough talent and big thinking to find synergies within our business and expand them across the ecosystem. Strong, tech-driven tools are being built to help consumers so they don’t need to know every company involved in the journey. Tech can help us meet the consumer where they are. It’s all part of one consumer journey.

What do you believe to be the trends in the home segment? Where is it heading?

  • Doug: Home ownership and the volatility of the market is adding a lot of intensity. The consumer is passionate, excited, and under a lot of pressure because costs are rising. Expectation for brand reputation and to go above and beyond in delivery will intensify. Your product and brand need to do what they say they are going to do.
  • Mateusz: People are busier, costs are rising, consumers looking for ways to save money and time. How can we make the whole journey easier, from purchasing home to living in home? Creating a convenient experience goes a long way. Ecosystems are a great way to take advantage of that.
  • Eric: We work in a volatile, stressful space. Home is the center financially and emotionally—it’s a privilege to play a small part. I am confident home-buying will continue because of all of the benefits of homes. The trend toward simplification and transparency will continue. Our industry has made leaps and bounds in that area and will continue to. More ecosystem collaboration and even inner company ecosystems will make processes simpler, easier to understand, stress reducing rather than stress enhancing. It’s always stressful to buy and live in a home because stakes are high. We focus on making the process simpler and better.

What would you recommend to players that haven’t intentionally leveraged the ecosystems they are part of? What could they do to add value to their customers?

  • Mateusz: Joining an ecosystem is a choice, it’s not easy to do. Not everyone needs to jump on the bandwagon, but companies should consider it and make an informed choice. It depends on the industry and the market they are in. Understand where your industry is going, where consumers are going. If you decide to join an ecosystem, it needs to be a top-down decision and involve the whole company. Once you commit, go all-in.
  • Doug: Listen to consumers. Understand customer pain points. If you’re solving a problem for the customer, you’re going in the right direction. Be selective with partners and choose wisely. Err on the side of caution. Is the ecosystem complementary to the core of your business? Does it drive the effectiveness of your core competencies? Not just financial opportunity or because everyone is doing it.
  • Eric: No strategy (ecosystem or otherwise) will get you out of delivering a great product and great experience for your customer. We don’t need a world where your ecosystem constrains choice. You want to be able to serve your customer—don’t limit partners or consumer choice. Meet the consumer across their journey. Think about: 1) Are you solving a consumer need? 2) Should you get tight with a partner(s) to take over customer experience? OR focus on what you’re good at and not attach so closely to someone else?

Media Ecosystem Panel

Joanne Sheppard – SVP of Strategy & Investment, Holtzbrinck
Kalina Nikolova – VP of Operations and Strategy, Yahoo Inc.
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

Over the last ten years, many major platforms have completely changed the way that people interact with media and publishing. Individuals are creating their own content. Companies are looking for creative ways to monetize and invest in content. Many are moving toward ecosystems. How does competing in ecosystems differ from competing one-to-one?

  • Kalina: The media industry has changed so much. Everybody is a content creator. Think about that for a second. The mass of communication and content out there. Traditionally it was created by media companies—publishing, TV producing professional content. Now anyone can create content. This enriches the experience for the consumer by including their own participation and hearing from more content creators.
    • How do we create even better value for the consumer and for the business customer?  It’s become much more open, democratic, available, accessible. From the business participants’ perspective, (advertisers, publishers, creative targeting…) it has become a richer playing field. Many opportunities to provide value but greater responsibility to protect the consumer in terms of privacy, use of data. New layer of complexity is driving change in business models. 
  • Joanne: I agree about the need to protect the consumer. At Holtzbrinck, we own Macmillan publishing. Many of the books we sell via the Amazon ecosystem. We are also an ecosystem orchestrator with our Science & Technology business. I’m finding that the Amazon’s, Google’s, and Apple’s are very Web 2.0. We’re moving to web 3.0 where the value creation is going to be even more decentralized, distributed, more searchable. Value coming from AI/ML. New forms of value creation. 
    • The next level is how do we work together more within the ecosystems—think past ourselves and our bottom line and more about greater good for the world.

What changes inside of the organization? What are the implications for people and management practices? 

  • Kalina: We are all now creators of value. We’re playing together in a richer ecosystem. Internally we need to be more aligned and agile with our operating models. No one company can succeed on its own. We have to partner with others. It’s a partnership model on steroids. Our internal model is an open, networked operating model. Yahoo can’t deliver its products and services well without our entire ecosystem of partners. We bring publishers together with advertisers. We work with data companies to enrich our understanding of the consumer. It’s accelerating. It’s not a question of “if” it’s a question of who you’re partnering with. Those partnering models are becoming richer and more agile, not traditional, oriented to value creation. 
    • We have so many partners who are both competitors and partners and that’s completely normal. 
    • For employees, it is an unprecedented time for people in terms of opportunity, being more connected across the industry. Broader visibility for people to learn and work with/for other companies. 
  • Joanne: There are several forces coming together that require different styles of leadership. Pre-pandemic icons were hard-charging, masculine. That image is changing. Ecosystems are about diversity, valuing what diversity brings to your level of decision making. Empathy leads to value creation. Thinking about the collective= stronger businesses, loyalty for employees. Change is happening very quickly. Individuals are stretching their style and learning. 

In an ecosystem, you need to manage the challenges in your organization but also to manage the challenges of your partners. How do you tackle the increased complexity?

  • Joanne: The scientific communication ecosystem that we run externally is modular—you can choose to participate in certain pieces or the whole thing. It is open as opposed to closed. We have strong freemium models. It is driven upon responsible and ethical use of data. 
    • We take the same approach internally. We built our own inner ecosystem. We are not over reliant on a single partner. Manages who gets your data and who does not so nobody has complete control and visibility into our organization. The more decentralized ecosystems are (internal and external) the more trust has to be included.
  • Kalina: I’ll keep building on that. With that trust, all have to be anchored in the same values. When a system becomes more decentralized, it needs to be anchored and that anchor is value. You can’t bring traditional roles, org charts, or leadership style. The entire way of working and learning has to change. All the pieces need to be attuned to acceleration and agility. More flexible commercial terms with partners. Down to the everyday workflow and internal processes—agile is necessary. How do we create the overall ability to pivot faster? How do we quickly get the signals from outside, across partners to know what is going to happen and when so that we can pivot?

It’s one thing when you are the orchestrator and can define fair roles for everyone in the ecosystem; it’s another thing when you are a node in the ecosystem. I’ve seen ecosystem orchestrators set the rules and participants complain. What is your strategy for choosing the right partners and roles to play?

  • Joanne: When you are a node, you can feel like you don’t have the power. You might feel you can’t negotiate from a position of strength, but you can. Start with shared values. If you are in an ecosystem where the dominant party is too powerful, look at startups and see if you can form your own ecosystem and reduce your risk. If you are a party in multiple ecosystems, you are not completely reliant on only one. 
    • Ex: Shopify has taken some of the complaints people had about Amazon and built a business that people believe is fairer to ecosystem participants.
  • Kalina: I’ll add to the notion of shared values. More value for the ultimate customer. At the end of the day, an ecosystem has to increase the pie not slice the pie. If we all drive towards better value for the customer, the pie is going to grow. If you look at the example of Shopify and Amazon, it increased the pie. It may be divided differently between the players but it has grown the pie. 
    • I would be looking for similar minded partners. Is the leadership team agile? Is it coaching and guiding versus top-down management? Are the intentions of the leadership team aligned with creating customer value, shared values, creating more safety or diversity in the ecosystem? 
    • The other question is how many. You stress your own system when you work with more partners. It should be a win-win for all players. Need to be creating more optionality for each other so we can play in a variety of futures because no one knows what it’s going to look like.

A lot of good things are coming from increased collaboration among partners. How ready is the industry and the players in it to move quickly and take advantage of ecosystems?

  • Kalina: It doesn’t matter how ready we are. It’s not up to us. The consumer has spoken, the business customer has spoken. It’s happening and we are flowing with that. That is an oppty, but of course it’s more difficult. Sustainability is the north star—sustainable goals, sustainable values, diversity, contributing to larger society. The employees have also already spoken. It’s not a choice anymore. We have to acknowledge that in our ecosystems and operating models.
  • Joanne: Whether or not someone is ready is beside the point. It’s more, are you going to participate in what is happening? The pandemic and businesses’ responses to it and how quickly the US has responded to the war in the Ukraine—people are primed to respond to change FAST. 
    • On the less positive side, smaller players in our industry have expressed unreadiness for this. But organizations do not have the right to exist, and if they do not do what their customers want them to do, they lose relevance. You don’t have a choice right now. You have to get on this train.

In the media industry, there is competition for data. In some ecosystems the data is concentrated with one player. What is the responsibility tied to this opportunity?

  • Kalina: The key word is responsibility. I’ve been in the media industry and advertising for 25 years. We as an industry and an ecosystem have a responsibility to everyone who participates in the ecosystem (consumer, business partner). It’s on us, no one is going to do it for us. We need to speak up, collaborate, and make the right choices together. We come together as collaborators and competitors at the same time. We need to think about what’s best for the consumer and use targeting in a way that’s visible, agreed on, and makes their experience better. Makes people more informed and aware of what’s available to them. We need to champion this through the industry. Relentless responsibility to make it better, clearer, visible, understandable, and demand it from everyone we work with. It’s not an easy thing to operationalize, but if we stay true to why we’re doing it, we’re finding ways to make it happen. But it’s on us to do it, not for anyone (regulators, gov’t) to do it for us.
  • Joanne: This is where diversification comes in, so that no one has too much. There is an ability to vote with your feet. Even if you are a consumer or node in the ecosystem, you have the ability to enact change. If you are a small player, how can you align with someone with a greater voice who will stand up and enact change? In a web 3.0 world, the data that’s being collected will be as valuable or more valuable than front end. Will lead to new creative instances as AI/ML run derivative products. We need to think now about value creation there and who is entitled to which piece of the pie. How do I want to protect myself? That determines how you choose your partners.

There are so many players out there still figuring out how to join ecosystems. What advice would you give to them?

  • Kalina: There is no vacuum in the system. The moment someone misses a consumer need, there is an oppty for the next to see it, understand, and fill that need. Now it happens faster. The media ecosystem is much more visible now, it’s easy to quickly see where the gaps are. Consumers have so many options, switching costs are low. If you don’t have enough to keep them, they will leave. 
    • Advice: 1) ID oppty for innovation 2) Stay laser focused on consumer needs 3) Use the logic we’ve discussed in today’s panel. Feel confident that anyone can drive change and value in the ecosystem. 4) Find your partners that align with what you’re trying to build and scale. 
  • Joanne: Start with your ethics and values. Lead from that, regardless of whether you are a node or orchestrator. Get into the mindset of greater value creation and shared value creation. Competition takes a back seat. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Have confidence.

Technology Ecosystem Panel

Chris Huff – Chief Strategy Officer, Kofax
Patricia Miron – Integrated Strategy & Operations GM for US Small, Medium, and Corporate Segment, Microsoft
Tushar Amin – Global Business Model Innovation Leader, Kyndryl
Claudio Garcia – President, Outthinker Strategy Network

Over the last 20 years there has been a revolution in business competition. 6 of the 7 most valuable companies are ecosystems. How is that impacting competition? What are the new rules happening in the market right now?

  • Patricia: Ecosystems play a key role in all areas of Microsoft’s business—gaming, ad & search, cloud, etc. We’re competing for hearts and minds of the ecosystem. This is a big change because the barrier [for consumers] to embrace multiple competitors now is really low. We had to spend a lot of time thinking—how can we be more empathetic to our partners’ business and what is best for their business? They are never exclusively our partner; an ecosystem is never exclusively our ecosystem. How can we be the best partner and serve their business needs in that ecosystem?
  • Chris: Success in ecosystems comes down to a few factors—1) How do you differentiate yourself from competitors? It’s becoming more difficult to tell that story than before, now you have to lean on ecosystem. 2) How well do you create your product-market fit? It’s a balancing act. What do you do to keep your customers happy?
    • When Kofax & Microsoft got together—aligned on value—wanted to keep customers happy because happy customers are sticky. Microsoft Azure platform and Kofax automation made sense because Kofax had depth that made customers happy.
  • Tushar: How can we effectively partner better with companies that are reshaping the IT industry? Kyndryl jumped into creating partnerships.  Partnerships open up the market. Traditionally, if you know your market, you can create a value prop to bring to the table. Ecosystems open up a new set of capabilities in terms of partnering. Know what your core is, know how you’re going to partner to develop your end-to-end value prop to deliver to your customer. Benefit of ecosystems: you can quickly compose and decompose partnerships as the target value prop changes.

How to choose the right ecosystem to participate?

  • Chris: You need to give as much as you get out of the ecosystem. As a smaller company, how do I play with the big guys but stay at the center of my ecosystem? What’s my unique value prop? That’s challenging because of accelerated rate of change. In deciding which ecosystem to join, start with the problem you are trying to solve, then craft a very clear value creation statement. Start with the WHY then go to who, what, where, when, how. Use data to create a quantifiable business case. 
    • The relationships of the people in the ecosystems need to be just as strong as the technology and product/market fit. Mutually exclusive sponsorship at the exec level from your company and companies you work with—absolutely critical. If that’s absent from the alliance, then the market relationship will be “vapor ware.”
  • Tushar: We created a senior org to develop ecosystem capabilities. Capabilities you need are very different in an ecosystem. For example, startup engagement. At IBM when we engaged with small startups, we had to develop a capability to industrialize and help commercialize startups. Our ability to partner had to be driven by a very senior level.
    • I don’t think we really pick the ecosystem. We had a clear understanding of the market and the core value we deliver. We picked the platforms we were going to partner with and naturally joined their ecosystem. Sometimes you take on a role in the ecosystem of expanding that ecosystem, it’s incumbent of you as a participant to expand the ecosystem with the partnerships you bring along. 
  • Patricia: Microsoft is an orchestrator. Have an organization that’s dedicated to focusing on partners—commercial cloud business. What are the groups of ecosystem players we need to engage with? Categories of business: ISVs- partners who are writing unique IP and leveraging Microsoft platforms, for example. Different types of partners and groups of ecosystems to connect and engage.
    • Spent a lot of time understanding all those players at two altitudes—1) global 2) geographical, regional altitude. There are worldwide players, meet them where they are. Regional players—understand their unique value prop, where do they play? Some have deep, specialized expertise.
    • We spend a lot of time understanding that and distributing that across a VERY large sales org. Sellers NEED to understand core eco players, understand their unique value prop (which is changing all the time). Sometimes sellers know this best. 
    • AND Corporate needs to communicate to partners what it is trying to accomplish (ie now Microsoft will support some competitors cloud solutions). It’s no longer transactional, it’s a service without an end. How to we create stickiness and make every process as fluid as possible? (licensing, service problems) How do you allow for fluid comms and transparency to make operations smooth and transparent?

What are the fundamental changes that happen in an org that is playing in an ecosystem environment?

  • Chris: Ecosystem business model is not a fad. McKinsey sizes Integrated Network Economy- represents global revenue pool $60T by 2025. Inc. Total economy share from 2% to 30% in just 3 years. This is a massive macro trend.
    • 2 macrotrends to set strategy for an ecosystem business model: First principles approach to solve complex and evolving situations. Break down complex concepts into root cause. Ask WHY. Why does the org exist? To create value for shareholders (stakeholders). But if you think about how value is created, in 1975 83% of value of S&P500 was derived from tangible assets (buildings, land, cash, inventory). In 2020 90% of value is from intangible assets (data, software). Ecosystem approach is to focus on intangible value creation—this leads you to the right partners (Kofax is partnering with digital transformation companies.)
  • Tushar: What capabilities do you need to build in your org to compete in ecosystems? 2 levels: 1) You need different capabilities to act as an orchestrator 2) Invest in skills and talent of your ecosystem. To be an effective player, you need to think differently about investments in human capital. New training and upskilling model. Kyndryl has thousands of certifications on Microsoft. Create the skills for the platform and the technologies in the ecosystem. That’s how you become an effective value-added service provider.
    • New business models—5 years from now companies expect 50% of revenue to come from new business models. How do you compose these new models? It will be more ecosystem oriented than ever before. You need to be able to create constellations of capabilities. 
  • Patricia: Microsoft has gone through a major transformation. We think about the people in the ecosystems, how do we help them? Ways to upskill constantly. How do we help our ecosystem partners find the talent they need? Enable ecosystem partners to build out their own IP. Working with startups requires a different sales model. Evolve our own sales team to encompass the ecosystem. Used to create the opportunity, then hand off to the ecosystem—we changed our whole sales model and mindset. We need to work engineering-to-engineering to really create new business models.

What do you recommend as a first step for companies who aren’t playing in ecosystems yet?

  • Chris: 1) Value creation—you must have board alignment on value creation or it will be an uphill battle. 2) Culture—you need to promote a culture that discourages operating on an island and encourages operating as part of an ecosystem 3) Strategy—clear ecosystem strategy, plan to achieve connectedness in product & go-to-market. Communicate in a simple way across the org 4) Execution—need a strong ecosystem alliances leader or team who is responsible for operationalizing the ecosystem strategy. Creates accountability.
  • Tushar: Start with strategic clarity (know your markets, what is your core, what will you do/not do), understand what partners have convening power in your industry. Determines which ecosystems you will join. You need a capability internally (clear strategy, partnering capability) at a senior level where it’s a top 3 priority.
  • Patricia: Microsoft has a certain responsibility and accountability when we agree to partner with someone. If you want to be part of an ecosystem, you need to know what your differentiator is and where you want to go. Need board level and exec level commitment. When you approach a large partner you need clarity on who you are and what you want—your differentiated value AND what you need from them. What is the product or distribution augmentation that you need? What is the GTM and sales model piece you need? Or large partner will throw you in and make it harder to play. Be ready to answer WHY WHY WHY. It’s to your benefit so you are embraced for the unique capabilities you bring to the market. 


Notes from a series of panels of strategy heads of large enterprises conducted for this research.

Tiffani Bova

Summary: Tiffani Bova began her career as a sales, marketing and customer service executive for startups and Fortune 500 companies where she was recognized as being one of the first to develop a robust go-to-market model for cloud-based solutions and indirect channel strategies. This experience brought her to Salesforce where she became global growth evangelist, driving customer success through a vast network of customer and partner ecosystems. She has consistently been a leader in witnessing, understanding and helping shape the relationship with ecosystems across various organizations. 

Key takeaways: 

  • What defines an ecosystem, and why it’s more common than you may think 
  • The history of ecosystems, as she witnessed them on the frontlines, and how the internet and digital technology have accelerated their prevalence 
  • A practical set of steps and questions to decide if an ecosystem is right for your company, where to draw value from it, and deciding how it will help close your gaps 
  • The importance of putting the customer first when making the decision to join an ecosystem 
  • The different types of relationships you can develop with partners in an ecosystem 
  • How ecosystems can become a significant part of your profitability—and why this is critical to your success  

Jonathan Knee

Summary: Jonathan Knee is a Michael T. Fries Professor of Professional Practice in Media and Technology and Co-Director of the Media and Technology Program at Columbia Business School where he has taught Media Mergers and Acquisitions and Strategic Management of Media. His most recent book, The Platform Delusion: Who Wins and Who Loses In the Age of Tech Titans, is packed with real-word insights, on which companies will thrive and which will fail. These insights are based on his learnings of how platforms, ecosystems and competitive advantages all play together to determine success.  

Key takeaways: 

  • How the key to success is not just a single competitive advantage, but rather building multiple reinforcing competitive advantages 
  • Why scale is the most important factor in developing competitive advantage, and how it differs in the digital age of platforms and ecosystems 
  • When network effects might be a detriment rather than an advantage 
  • What defines a platform and how it’s different from and interacts with an ecosystem 
  • How to maximize your chances of success in ecosystem-based competition 
  • Why all players in an ecosystem must deliver as much value from an ecosystem as they extract 

Rita McGrath

Summary: Bestselling author, sought after speaker, and longtime Columbia Business School professor, Rita Gunther McGrath, is responsible for some of the most thought-provoking business insights over the past two decades. She is an expert in driving innovation and growth for organisations in times of uncertainty and has consistently been recognized as one of the top ten management thinkers by Thinkers50. Her latest book, Seeing Around Corners is a guide to spotting and responding to inflection points in business before they happen. In this session, Rita is interviewed by Outthinker Strategy Network member, Roopa Unnikrishnan, SVP of Strategy and Corporate Development for IDEX. Roopa formerly served as CSO of Harman and Vontier and has led a career in strategy and innovation for organisations like Pfizer, Citibank and Blackrock. In this session, Rita and Roopa discuss the role ecosystems play in strategy today.

Key takeaways:

  • How ecosystem-based competition has evolved over time 
  • The questions investors and policy makers should be asking about power in an ecosystem 
  • Management best practices that allow organisations participating in ecosystems to operate effectively 
  • The future of brands when it comes to ecosystems 
  • Recommendations for companies to deliver the most value in their alliances 
  • A new type of leadership necessary to lead in the new world of ecosystems


Felix Oberholzer-Gee

Summary: Felix Oberholzer-Gee is the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. An award-winning instructor, his academic work has been published in the very best, peer-reviewed journals of his profession, and he currently teaches competitive strategy in executive education programs. His work is largely focused on helping businesses apply his framework of Value-Based Strategy, in which businesses learn to identify the biggest value drivers. Within ecosystem-based competition, he’s identified how to specifically leverage ecosystems in maximizing the value delivered to stakeholders. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • How Value-Based Strategy applies to ecosystems, and how to identify where to draw and give the most value within one 
  • How to identify what complements are best for your business 
  • Motivating partners in the ecosystem to make investments in complements that would deliver value to your customers 
  • What adjustments you need to make within your business model and culture to incorporate Ecosystems 
  • Growing your bargaining power and maximizing the value you draw from an ecosystem as you put more value into it  

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