The emergence of an innovation ecosystem

Collective, ongoing development

Creating the ecosystem around a specific challenge and a desired future helps the ecosystem learn from demonstrators as they develop over time.

The nature of the innovation ecosystem depends on the number and type of stakeholders included. Ownership, motivation and size, will influence the role and behaviour of the different stakeholders. In this playbook we suggest to define a leader or leader organisation to orchestrate the ecosystem.

The orchestrators’ responsibility is to manage and synchronise the interventions by different actors in the ecosystem. The role is in charge of initiating, establishing and maintaining the innovation ecosystems by identifying relevant actors, helping to establish new partnerships, and initiating activities across ecosystems.

One of the biggest challenges for the orchestrator is to assist the stakeholders in balancing their interests with the obligations to others in the ecosystem. The orchestrator must ensure that the actors have a common understanding of the vision story and the direction they want to move in.

A portfolio to drive transformation

One of the most important tools for an orchestrator is the portfolio. A portfolio contains many different but connected initiatives and interventions, collectively called demonstrators.

Learning from ongoing demonstrators is critical for the ecosystem to adapt and evolve. Some demonstrators might fail, and these will provide great learning opportunities.

A portfolio containing wide set of demonstrators will support the ecosystem to try out different approaches and continually improve how the system works. The number, the combination and the types of demonstrators in a portfolio will vary depending on the chosen systemic challenges.

Demonstrators in a portfolio can:

– intervene with different parts of the system, from individual, local services to international collaborations.

– have different approaches to innovation, including incremental, disruptive and radical innovation.

– include different constellations of actors, including start-ups, public agencies and NGOs.

– have different magnitudes and risks, from big investments and big risks to small adaptions with less risks.

– span different time frames, from months, to years, and to generations.