With all the recent economic and societal disruptions we are rapidly entering the Postnormal Era. Collaboration models, tools and organizational theories that were helpful during the Industrial Age are no longer valid. As our slogan states, it’s time for new paradigms. In this blog post we elaborate the meta-ecosystem concept to respond to challenges of the highly volatile future. Our approach can be applied for solving wicked global challenges requiring multidisciplinary international collaboration. However, it is also valid for the development purposes of any domain specific, regional or national level ecosystem, which is aiming to improve its competitiveness on a global scale and to increase the connectivity to global knowledge ecosystems.
The major trend, which is relevant and fundamental to understand, is the increased importance of startup and innovation ecosystems in supporting entrepreneurship. Today, it is vital for the ecosystem operators to generate gravity and attract global talent. It is essential to get rid of the gatekeepers, who in the Industrial Era were in charge of creating connections between ecosystem members. Ecosystems need to become self-orchestrated and connected to each other on the practical level to enable effective cross-pollination.
From local ecosystems to meta-ecosystems
We are sensing that ecosystems will be the decisive entities, when evaluating success factors on the future competitive landscape. Actually, we believe that competition will increasingly happen not anymore between companies, but rather between ecosystems. For most of the local ecosystems forming or joining meta-ecosystems will be the only way to ensure competitiveness in the global landscape. In fact, even their existence in the longer term is a matter of belonging to a more viable and competitive meta-ecosystem.
The global startup ecosystem landscape is strongly dominated by the US based hubs, such as Silicon Valley and Boston. These most successful global ecosystems will keep draining talents and ambitious startups from all over the world and thus become even stronger. Unfortunately, the means to fight against this trend are very limited. By applying the meta-ecosystem approach in other parts of the world, we have a feasible solution to tackle this challenge. The market proven coaching and support services need to be combined with top talent and latent resources across the local ecosystems, especially in less developed ones.
So what is a meta-ecosystem?
It’s a synergetic and interdisciplinary combination of digitally interconnected domain specific ecosystems, powered by platform thinking and effective digital trust building practises.
Relevant tools and practices
In the context of digital connectivity between ecosystems we introduce a notion of a competence platform, which has an important role in the idea elaboration, team formation, matchmaking and trust building. When deployed and uptaken by a critical mass of individual users, such a digital platform starts to catalyze interaction and therefore increases the dynamics within the meta-ecosystem. It also creates much needed gravity and attracts motivated and skilled people and their organizations and hence improves the talent potential and dynamic capabilities of the entire meta-ecosystem.
In order to achieve these objectives, participants of the meta-ecosystem shall integrate services to support top talents and wannabe entrepreneurs all the way through from starting up a new business to the global scale up and, potentially, a unicorn. This approach will help utilizing the best possible resources within the meta-ecosystem at different phases of the business lifecycle. Any talent or company in any location of the meta-ecosystem will get access to the comprehensive set of integrated services provided by top level experts. In addition, through the competence matching tools, any talent or company will get a possibility to identify co-founders with matching skills and ambitions, business development partners or investors seeking investment opportunities. Such a strongly result-oriented digital meta-connectivity between domain specific ecosystems is an essential new element in the European innovation landscape.
Role of the competence platform
We strongly believe that increasing diversity within the professional community substantially increases the chance for impactful insights and, consequently, disruptive innovations to occur. The role of the competence platform is to enable the seamless interconnectivity between all participants. We see it as a “digital glue” or a vascular system, which connects all the pieces of the meta-ecosystem together. With the help of a powerful and comprehensive competence platform our vision is to build a highly talented and inspiring global metacommunity of students as wannabe entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, scaleups, SMEs, larger corporations, service providers, public entities, business angels and venture capital companies. That kind of setting enables us to build a unique meta-ecosystem consisting of motivated free agents and established organizations. The inspiration and momentum generated will increase the competitiveness of all parties involved.
Competence platform is well suited for the following purposes
- crowdsourcing and initial elaboration of new ideas (pre-project phase)
- matching users’ skills to form effective project and startup teams (pre-incubation phase)
- matching motivated people with user-generated challenges
- competence matching tool emphasizing future skills (wills) of users
See below the comparison between a typical matchmaking tool and the competence platform.
|Feature||Matchmaking tool||Competence platform|
|Basic approach||Structured and moderated||Community driven|
|Matchmaking||Around predefined topics||Around user-generated challenges|
|Matching principles||Profile database search;|
|Peer to peer validated skills;|
Holistic approach, both skills and motivation included, machine learning algorithms
|The key success factors||Number of users;|
Number of (successful) matches
|New ideasActive teams working around ideas;|
Unexpected combinations of competences and therefore disruptive ideas in a pipeline
|Targeted outcome||Networking of like-minded users||Breakthrough innovations based on serendipitous encounters within a highly diverse and engaged community|