Commenting on the challenge of coronavirus, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier summed up the new reality perfectly: “No single entity covers the medical, economic, and political elements required to produce a vaccine for all”.
The same holds true as manufacturers such as Ford Motor Co. try to overcome the technical, logistical and regulatory hurdles of moving from cars to supplying ventilators in the tens of thousands. As expert as companies are in their specific fields, they need to collaborate with other companies and individuals to contribute in new and vital ways.
Ford is helping 3M scale up production of its air-purifying respirators and collaborating with GE Healthcare to boost production of a simplified version of GE’s existing ventilator design.
This underlines a crucial point in today’s interconnected economy and society: Whether it is keeping their supply chains moving, redeploying their staff to new roles, or pivoting their business models to online sales, companies across the world are recognising the critical nature of collaborators – the quality and depth of ecosystem partners. Innovative responses require access to the capabilities of such an ecosystem of partners, drawing on know-how and capacity in a wide variety of related industries. This is the topic of a new book, Ecosystem Edge », I have co-authored with Arnoud De Meyer of Singapore Management University.
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