Building and leveraging your ecosystem to spark innovation-based growth

What determines innovation success? More and more, it’s not necessarily the core technology or the innovation’s value proposition. The ultimate defining factor can be the innovation ecosystem: that is, the interdependent partner network needed to generate, develop and deliver a technology-based or business-model innovation.

The ecosystem perspective recognizes that what matters most in creating and sustaining innovation is building and strengthening interdependent links amongst ecosystem players. With the source of differentiation shifting from the innovative technology to the partner network, business leaders must now understand how to build and play their innovation ecosystem.

In this article, Vlerick Prof Walter Van Dyck argues that all industries can benefit from thinking in terms of ecosystems when designing an innovation strategy for corporate growth and renewal.

A well-managed ecosystem can serve as a much needed spark for innovation-based growth.

Prof Walter Van Dyck Director, Vlerick Innovation Management Research Platform

Building and Managing Innovation Ecosystems

Prof Van Dyck distinguishes amongst the 3 types of ecosystems that a company can typically build around its innovations:

  • Science-based
  • Technology-based
  • Service-based

Illustrating his points with key examples from each type of ecosystem, he then discusses how value is created and captured for each type of ecosystem, and how this influences the types of ecosystem players, the relationships that typically govern their collaborations, and some of the business models they typically use to monetize their innovations.

Prof Van Dyck aims to give managers in a variety of industries a handle that will enable them to think in terms of developing and managing ecosystems to support the generation, conversion, and delivery of their innovations.

Ultimately, building, managing and leveraging your ecosystem is about designing and executing a complex systems strategy, so that innovation success with key partners sets in motion a chain of success that is transmitted to the other partners in the ecosystem for the benefit of the innovation and the ecosystem as a whole.

Related Article

"Building and leveraging your ecosystem to spark innovation-based growth" by Prof Walter Van Dyck, Ivey Business Journal, March/April 2012.

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