The Britannica says that an ecosystem is “the complex of living organisms, their physical environment, and all their interrelationships in a particular unit of space.” Whether it’s humans, businesses or innovation as a concept its useful to consider it as part of a broader ecosystem.
“Ecosystem” is a concept that recognises, in any closed system, the members of that system must work with and around each other to keep the system stable, ideally optimising the collective benefit. “A rising tide lifts all boats”. We see plenty of evidence in the natural world of how a balanced ecosystem benefits all participants – and how destructive imbalance in an ecosystem can be.
Business Ecosystems encompass the entire network of organisations —suppliers, distributors, customers, competitors, government agencies, and so on — involved in the delivery of a specific product or service through both competition and cooperation. If designing a traditional business model is like planning and building a house, designing an ecosystem is more like developing a whole residential district: more complex, more players to coordinate, more layers of interaction and unintended emergent outcomes.
To effectively manage risk and optimise outcomes, companies are having to consider the broader ecosystem they operate within to assess impact on performance. Issues in supply chains from covid and geopolitical issues being just one example of why understanding all the elements within an ecosystem is important. We’ve seen ecosystem start-ups generate eye-popping valuations; since 2015 according to BCG, more than 300 ecosystem start-ups have reached unicorn status of which 179 were built on ecosystem business models.
Zetaris, a data and analytics company we recently helped raise $30 million for, deeply understands the ecosystem they operate in and have found ways to use it to their benefit. At a $110m valuation and with investors such as the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel among the investors, they’ve demonstrated innovative tech but they’re already leveraging their ecosystem to optimise their growth.
From media and technology to energy and mining—no major industry is untouched by the rise of business ecosystems. Our consulting team does a pretty impressive job in helping organisations define their ecosystem strategy and as I’m sure you know by now, we’re always looking for companies with an edge and this is certainly an edge!
At SeventyTwo we see companies at all stages benefit from tapping into the innovation ecosystem which includes universities, government, corporations, start-up accelerators, venture capitalists, private investors, foundations, entrepreneurs, mentors, and the media.
We play our role in the innovation and business ecosystem by facilitating the interactions between participants. A few times a year we hold private functions that initiate and strengthen these relationships.
If you’re a player in this ecosystem and would like to be invited to one of our events, please contact us for further information about eligibility.