Ecosystems for the rest of us

Before companies can benefit from collaborations, they must be clear about their role.

Andrew Campbell, Mikel Gutierrez

Strategies rarely say much about specific operations. In fact, when a strategy is complete, there are usually many questions left to be answered: what do you want me to do? by when? how much will this cost? do we have the budget? do I have clearance to hire extra people? what IT changes are needed? what can be outsourced? what new skills will we need? … [ Read more ]

Design Your Organization to Match Your Strategy

An organization is nothing more than a living embodiment of a strategy. That means its “organizational hardware” (i.e., structures, processes, technologies, and governance) and its “organizational software” (i.e., values, norms, culture, leadership, and employee skills and aspirations) must be designed exclusively in the service of a specific strategy. Research suggests that only 10% of organizations are successful at aligning their strategy with their organization design. … [ Read more ]

Ulrich Pidun, Martin Reeves, Maximilian Schüssler

A business ecosystem is a dynamic group of largely independent economic players that create products or services that together constitute a coherent solution.

This definition implies that each ecosystem can be characterized by a specific value proposition (the desired solution) and by a clearly defined, albeit changing, group of actors with different roles (such as producer, supplier, orchestrator, complementor). The definition excludes some of the more … [ Read more ]

Four Questions Every Marketplace Startup Should Be Able to Answer

Marketplace businesses can be messy, and every gain is hard earned. After all, you’re dealing with an ecosystem of participants — buyers and sellers — that’s constantly in flux, their needs and desires changing over time. Unfolding in both online transactions and offline interactions, marketplaces are organic and dynamic.

Marketplace leaders need to be experts in the dynamics of their platforms. Identify those dynamics in … [ Read more ]

How the 100 largest marketplaces solved the chicken and egg problem

This essay presents the findings from a six month marketplace research project. There has been a lot written about online marketplaces and the goal was to test these theories by exploring data from a broader set of companies. The authors started by making a list of every marketplace founded, identifying 4,500 companies in total, then collected public data to classify and compare these companies

Liquidity Hacking – How to Build a Two-Sided Marketplace

Marketplace businesses… They always seem great on paper, but it’s so insanely hard to solve the chicken or the egg problem. Every founder I meet who’s building a marketplace business basically says the same thing: “It’s so much harder than I thought to build a two-sided marketplace.“ But of course it can be done. There are plenty of examples of success. What I’ve noticed in the … [ Read more ]

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Darko Lovric

Strategic clarity requires … understanding what it will take to execute the strategy. The first step is to clearly identify the essential organizational capabilities that the new strategy will require… The second step is to know if these capabilities are something you can be expected to build.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Darko Lovric

Many leaders think their strategy is “right” but lament that implementation is the problem. We have yet to meet a single leader who reports that their strategy is wrong but they are excellent at execution.

Why bad strategy is a ‘social contagion’

Author and academic Richard Rumelt explains how to develop strategies that aim to solve problems rather than simply state ambitions.

A Manager’s Dilemma: Sow or Harvest

Vijay Govindarajan, Ashish Sood, Anup Srivastava, Luminita Enache, and Barry Mishra have found that companies must focus relentlessly on building long-term competencies, even if doing so reduces immediate profits. Nonetheless, it is vital to shift focus when your product or idea becomes unexpectedly successful, so that you can milk that opportunity’s profits before it vanishes in the face of competition and technological progress.

James Surowiecki, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Thomas Ramge

It’s easier than ever to enter into, and successfully monitor, partnerships, and to outsource even core corporate functions to outside players. Intermediaries and brokers are less important. As a result, the transaction costs of doing business outside corporate walls are falling, which means that the economic case for the traditional big corporation (which exists in large part because of its ability to coordinate production with … [ Read more ]

Jiaona Zhang

Good strategy is good storytelling. People tend to overcomplicate it, but it’s actually quite simple. Strategy is outlining the things you are going to do to get where you need to go. I stress a lot around telling human stories. A good strategist should be able to say in 30 seconds what we’re doing for our users.

Leading a Bionic Transformation

Three new kinds of capital give companies a new source of leverage and power.

Roger Martin

If you base your strategy on analyzing the past, then you are implicitly making the assumption that the future will be identical to the past. Because it’s based on rigorous analysis—and you’ve been taught in business school that rigorous analysis is correct—then you will not be ready for the future to end up looking different than the past, and you’re more likely to stick with … [ Read more ]

Ten Lessons from 20 Years of Value Creation Insights

In 1998, BCG published its first Value Creators Report, which ranked the top corporations on the basis of the value they’d created over the previous five years and also attempted to draw out lessons from the winners. Since then, they have expanded their databases, refined their methodologies, and shared their perspectives annually. For the 20th report, they have now reassessed their cumulative experience and distilled … [ Read more ]

6 Factors Driving Changes to Today’s Corporate Strategies

Strategy is a competitive game, which always evolves in response to competition. But the magnitude of the changes in the technological, social, and natural environment are such that corporate strategy will need to be qualitatively reinvented again for new circumstances. This article discusses six factors are driving these changes: 1) dynamism, 2) uncertainty, 3) contingency, 4) connectedness, 5) contextuality, and 6) cognition.

What Is Your Business Ecosystem Strategy?

Drawing on the insights gleaned from three years of ecosystem research, BCG offers a step-by-step framework for developing an incumbent company’s ecosystem strategy.

John Doerr

If the best way to predict the future is to invent it, the second-best way is to finance it.