This page indexes the Top Ten Reasons Ecosystem Are The Future series for ease of reference. The series is a countdown and meant to be read in reverse numerical order (10-1).
In part 1 of this post, I introduced “our survival” as the top reason I believe ecosystems are the future. I focused on redefining community via an internet of emotions as crucial to addressing social issues that threaten our survival. However, redefining community alone won’t solve our social issues. We will need to align our priorities and utilize every cognitive and creative ability at our disposal to create solutions that enable us to endure. That is what I’ll focus on in part 2 of the post.
Over the last 10 months, I’ve counted down the reasons why I believe ecosystems are to become the dominant structure of the future. I’ve used spiral dynamics, a model for emergent human values, to make sense of the incomprehensible change occurring now and gain insight into where all of this might lead.
So, where is all of this leading? No one can know for sure. But perhaps, we can ask where all of this change could lead? Perhaps, it could lead us to a better, more mature state of being. I’ve felt for some time that ecosystems could play a crucial role in unifying our planet. Yet, I wasn’t sure just how it might play out. It took the help of an insightful honor student from Penn State University to trigger my curiosity and bring clarity to my thinking. So, this is it. The top reason I believe ecosystems are the future – Our Survival
I’m counting down the top ten reasons that ecosystems are to become the dominant structure of the future. In the previous post of this series, I presented the concept of abundance, noting that exponential technologies are enabling us to meet the world’s subsistence needs while ecosystems are emerging as alternatives to our current industries.
In this post, I will focus more specifically on how ecosystems will evolve as our values progress.
They say if you want to reach the top of a mountain, focus ten feet in front of you. And if you were to ask Bob Johansen how to reach the future, I’m sure he would advise you to focus ten years in front of you. That’s what struck me most when I recently had lunch with Bob. When the distinguished fellow and former President of the Institute for The Future was asked to describe himself, he responded that he is a ten year forecaster.
Introducing the Ecosystem Of You: a model that enables people to thrive by embedding providers into life experiences.
In The Coming Great Transition, entrepreneur and blockchain angel investor Jordan Greenhall writes that we are going through a transition from a social system that solves the problems of scarcity to one that takes on the challenge of abundance. While capitalism, which was founded on competition for scarce resources, has enabled us to achieve the greatest improvement in life conditions in history, it has also contributed greatly to such unfortunate consequences as gross inequality, starvation, over-consumption of natural resources, environmental degradation and climate change.
The Millennial generation is perhaps the most studied generation in history. According to The Millennial Generation Research Review and the U.S. Census Bureau statistics, there are over 80 million Millennials, representing the largest cohort size in US history. Reports on Millennial annual purchasing power range widely between $125 billion and $890 billion. A more consistent estimate is $200 billion of direct purchasing power and $500 billion of indirect spending, largely due to the influence on the spending of their mostly baby boomer parents. 5 Comprising nearly 75% of the workforce by 2025, the values and priorities of Millennials are crucial to any business strategist.
In his book The Purpose Economy, Aaron Hurst writes that a new economy centered on the need for individuals to find purpose in their work and lives is emerging as consumers, employers, community leaders, policy makers and employees play a role in restructuring society to meet the demands of people and the planet. He says the Purpose Economy helps explain many recent movements, which all point toward purpose as the core driver of the economy.
In his book “Drive”, Daniel Pink studied the science of motivation and found that while most businesses today incentivize employees with extrinsic motivators like rewards and bonuses, intrinsic motivators, which come from the pleasure or sense of satisfaction one gets from completing a task, are infinitely more effective in increasing the performance of cognitive activities.
If business is fundamentally about people exchanging value, then there’s no question that in a highly-networked world of ubiquitous information, we are all on a level playing field. Individuals today have more opportunity to find work, make contacts and exchange value than ever before thanks to technology and its network effects. And people are doing so at an ever-increasing rate. The Freelancer’s Union studied this trend and found there were 53 million or 34% self-employed freelancers in the US currently, and it projected that by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be independent.
Everyone is aware of the attention that Airbnb and Uber are getting for their sky rocketing growth and valuations. Airbnb, which is currently valued at over $20 billion, facilitates the peer to peer exchange of housing, while Uber, valued at over $40 billion, facilitates ride sharing. These companies are the darlings of the so-called Collaborative Economy, which is comprised of several related movements as defined by Rachel Botsman:
In How Companies Become Platform Leaders, Annabelle Gawer and Michael Cusumano describe the difference between products and industry platforms. Products are proprietary and under one company’s control, whereas industry platforms are foundation technologies or services that are essential for a broader, interdependent ecosystem of businesses. Industry platforms need complementary innovations to be useful, and vice versa. In Industry Platforms and Ecosystem Innovation, Gawer and Cusumano state that industry platforms are often associated with “network effects”: that is, the more participants who adopt the platform, the more valuable it becomes because of growing access to the network and complementary innovations.
As the disruptive scenarios emerge and evolve, I see them coalescing in the form of multi-industry business ecosystems. An ecosystem, in scientific terms, is a group of living or non-living things that depends upon each other to thrive. A business ecosystem is a self-organizing network (typically enabled by e-commerce and/or social technologies) whose participants exchange value around a common purpose. Because every industry today can be considered an ecosystem, the question is how those industries will evolve as a result of the disruptive scenarios.
The following presentation is a heuristic for predicting the future of business and society. It presents the relationship between general purpose technology and human values. It also explores the role that value systems…
Today, leaders must carve a path through unprecedented disruption resulting from the digital revolution. New technologies, innovations and business models are emerging so rapidly that many leaders are at a loss for how to proceed.…