Weekend Leadership Reading: 6/21/19

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular work days. That’s a sure road to burnout. Take time to refresh yourself. Take time for something different. Take time for some of that reading you can’t find time for during the week.

Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms. This week there are articles about business ecosystems.

From Greg Satell: How To Build An Ecosystem Strategy

“IBM’s history has shown a steady evolution from value chains to ecosystems. When it developed its System 360 mainframe architecture in the late 50s, the value chain was almost completely self-contained and vertically integrated. The PC was more of a hybrid strategy, in which it partnered with companies like Microsoft and Intel, but mostly kept them at arm’s length.

Today, rather than looking to dominate value chains, the company seeks to widen and deepen connections with research partners, customers and startups. Importantly, it does this not out of any newfound altruism—it would probably prefer to dominate the value chain if it could—but because of hard business realities.”

From Steffen Gackstatter: How companies of all sizes can benefit from business ecosystems

“Business ecosystems are partnerships in which three or more companies interact as equals to create a service offering that none of the parties would have been able to offer alone. They are made possible by the dramatic reduction in transaction costs unleashed by digitalization, as well as the disappearing boundaries between industries and individual companies.”

From Eamonn Kelly: Introduction: Business ecosystems come of age

“We’re all familiar with ecosystems in the natural world. The word was coined in the 1930s by British botanist Arthur Tansley to refer to a localized community of living organisms interacting with each other and their particular environment of air, water, mineral soil, and other elements. These organisms influence each other, and their terrain; they compete and collaborate, share and create resources, and co-evolve; and they are inevitably subject to external disruptions, to which they adapt together.”

From Kasey Panetta: 8 Dimensions of Business Ecosystems

“Your dynamic business ecosystems may sometimes create partners from competitors, at least for a little while. When BMW and Toyota need to develop key technologies, such as batteries, they may join together and then later go on to compete in the marketplace. Apple, Fitbit and Garmin created an ecosystem focused on fitness and apps. In a less-competitive ecosystem, groups such as a government, charity and a community group might collaborate on health or public policy because each entity has a shared interest and goal.”

From Jack Fuller, Michael G. Jacobides, and Martin Reeves: The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

“In annual reports, the term ecosystem occurs 13 times more frequently now than it did a decade ago.1 But like any buzzword, it’s often overapplied. The term has been used to refer to everything from a country (‘China is the second strongest ecosystem…’) to a support function (‘the HR ecosystem’), a portfolio of products (‘the Darico ecosystem is made up of 5 products’), and even a bundle of services intended to make people happy (‘a happiness ecosystem’).”

From Martin Reeves: Dispelling the Myths of Ecosystems with Michael Jacobides

“In annual reports, the term ‘ecosystem’ occurs 13 times more frequently now than it did a decade ago. But like any buzzword, it tends to be over-applied. What actually is a business ecosystem? How can we use them to create value?”

Book Suggestions

Cascades: How to Create a Movement that Drives Transformational Change by Greg Satell

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, et al.

The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems by James F. Moore

The Design Thinking Playbook: Mindful Digital Transformation of Teams, Products, Services, Businesses and Ecosystems by Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, et al.

Every week I share some recommendations of business books that I think are worth a look. Follow this link to the most recent list.

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