At the Future Centre we study the economics of Ecosystems and how Ecosystems can be fostered. Part of this involves the setting up of a methodology. What I want is to share some parts of it with you to get feedbacks and generate a discussion.
The first step to model a business ecosystem is to identify the perimeter and constituent parts of the ecosystem that is being studied.
The content of this step can be divided into two different logical phases:
- Identification of the “seed” on which the ecosystem is based. Business ecosystems grow around a seed, around something which in itself has the potential to attract the interest of different players who can leverage it for doing business. Considering that, it is necessary, first, to identify and define the seed.
The seed is important because it empowers a new market space, where actors, which may even be working in another markets or in a niche, begin to become interested in connecting to other players and to establish relationships that change the ecosystem and enable new business.
Following there are some questions whose answers can help identify the seed:
a) Which element feeds the interest from the players to enter and / or build an ecosystem? It is clear that the ultimate goal is always to “make money”. The seed is the enabling factor.
b) What factors users / customers recognize as having an economic value and how can they be combined to create a service or goods that the market is willing to pay for?
c) What elements’ absence would hamper the ecosystem growth?
- Once identified the objects to observe and the ecosystem boundary, it is essential to identify the constituent elements of the ecosystem and then create a list of relationship existing among them.
For the ecosystems focussed by the Future Center, we deem advisable to pursue the following approach:
Ø Players: must map all categories of actors and their role in the ecosystem including those not directly related but having an interest to join. The actors identification has two levels: the first level is to identify the categories (e.g. telecom operators, vendors, etc.) and the second level for those who are already inside the ecosystem, is to identify the players separately (e.g. .Hp , Telecom Italia, etc.) on the specific ecosystem we wish to target or aggregate.
Ø Enabling technologies;
Ø Products and services: list of the key products and services that already exists and are part of the ecosystem in its current configuration.
Ø Legislative and regulatory assets of reference.
At the end of this first step we should be able to build up a connections matrix: it’s a matrix to map the relationship among the constitutive elements:
In this matrix the vertical and the horizontal axes show the list of the constitutive elements and for each couple of constitutive elements is indicated if there is or not a link.
It is also possible to qualify the links in order to have more information on the relationship.
Of course there could be several possible links classification depending the purposes of the matrix. One could be the following:
· “0” – No relation.
· “1” – Intangible Relation
o All activities that are contracted, mandated or expected that directly generates revenue. E.g.: Goods, Services and Revenues. (Source: Allee, 2008)
· “2” – Tangible Relation.
o Def: Intangible knowledge and information exchanges flow around and support the core product and service valeu chain, but are not contractual and unpaid. E.g.: knowledge, benefits. (Source: Allee, 2008)
· “3” – Possible Future Relation.
o Def: A possible relation can be formed in a near future (5 years)
Let me have your feedback.