A sea with just sharks will soon be a sea devoid of life. The fish in a sea are as important as the predators. They keep the circle of life in balance. Our human society is not that different from natural ecosystems. In order to survive as an apex ‘predator’ one needs to understand the workings of an ecosystem, without misinterpreting the connection of ‘large’ and ‘success’. It is not the survival of the biggest, but the survival of the fittest. Successful organisations of the future are not by definition large, but they are capable of managing an extensive network of people and businesses, with only one purpose: customer centricity. What does this mean? How do businesses acquire the skills that are needed to build and maintain a business ecosystem and make sure they thrive in it?
Our education system is dormant and stagnant. It stirs up a lot of discussion, but what is actually changing in the nearby future? With that question in my head, I recently gave in to the urge to find out what is withholding us from creating an educational system that is based on lifelong learning. Why? Because in this volatile world that is disrupted in so many ways by innovation and technology, it seems impossible to ever stop learning when you want to keep up with society.
We live in a connected world. This should simplify building personal ecosystems, it is easier to connect nowadays than in the PI (Pre Internet) age. In theory. In real-life a lot of people seem to miss out on the advantages that come with building a personal ecosystem. When was the last time someone called you because he wanted to share a success story, achieved with someone you introduced him to? Have you involved someone in a business opportunity the last six months? We all live in an ecosystem. Whether you are in business or not, you are part of one, or maybe more. Your own personal ecosystem is the first level on your way to friendship, happiness, success or whatever you are aiming for in live. How many meaningful connections have you brought about this month? With how many of your older connections did you establish any form of contact recently?
In today’s dynamic business environment, every organisation must continuously change to stay competitive. How do you maintain the advantage on your competitors? If you can’t make it as a market leader, make sure you at least stay on par with competitors. How? It starts by thinking tactically and strategically from an innovative angle. You are never alone in an ecosystem. Competitors, customers, suppliers, employees and other stakeholders, they are all influenced by the way you act and the other way around. The dynamics of the environment that surrounds your business should be defining how you set up your processes. This ecosystem requires you to clearly position yourself. As an innovative business you should outline who you want to be and define how leading you want your role to be in the market. Looking at the innovation culture you want to build, what place in the ecosystem will suit your business best?
In my previous blog I shared my idea of the try-and-fail strategy and how I thought leadership and education are connected. The blurring lines between functional and theoretical technology as well as those between industries play a crucial role in the evolution of the educational system. Or at least, the evolution this system should go through. Up to now innovations in education seem to be held back by a legacy of traditional believes and standards. When I was discussing this subject with peers after publishing ‘This technology era needs leaders that fail’, I received some nice input that stirred up quit some thoughts about this subject. My conclusion: leaders in education and technology should join forces and develop a new approach, one that is applicable in both learning providers and organisations. But an educational system and business world forming a collaboration that can be the solid, sustainable base for ecosystems raises two questions. First, are the current schools geared to cultivate engaged students? Second, is attendance at school a prerequisite for successful education? No and no, I would say. But let’s start at the beginning of this line of reasoning.
Are you with me?