Coronavirus brings partner ecosystems to the fore, says Professor Peter Williamson of Cambridge Judge Business School.
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 General Motors or Dyson try to overcome the technical, logistical and regulatory hurdles of moving from cars and vacuum cleaners to supplying ventilators in the tens of thousands. As expert as these companies are in their specific fields, they need to collaborate with other companies and individuals to contribute in new and vital ways.
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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