The Ecosystem Economy: A book review by Bob Morris

The Ecosystem Economy: How to Lead in the New Age of Sectors Without Borders
Venkat Atluri and Miklós Dietz
Wiley (October 2022)

Why most businesses must reinvent themselves in order to compete in a different environment

It will come as no surprise to those who read this brief commentary that today’s business world is much more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than was any prior time that any of us can recall. Of course, the nature and extent of reinvention will vary from one organization to the next. Moreover, reinvention is a never-ending process rather than a finite destination. Competitive environments change and so must those involved.

For example, these are among the disruptive technologies that now pose unique challenges:

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
2. Sensors and the Internet of Things (IOT)
3. Autonomous Machines — robots, cobots, drones, and self-driving vehicles
4. Distributed leaders and blockchains
5. Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality
6. Connecting everything and everyone: 5G networks and satellite constellations

Thankfully, Venkat Atluri and Miklós Dietz have recently published The Ecosystem Economy in which — in Part One — they examine “the past, present, and future of ecosystems…and explain how humanity finally began to break away from sectors; how a confluence of changing consumer patterns and technology breakthroughs created some of the first ecosystems; and how in the coming decades, ecosystems will turn the world inside out before our eyes.”

In Part Two, they explore “the real-world implications of these momentous changes — and give you all the knowledge you need to adapt and stay ahead of the shifting landscape, whether you’re a CEO, an upstart entrepreneur, aN MBA student, or anywhere in between. We will explain, in short, why these changes have created totally new rules of the game.”

I agree with Atluri and Dietz: “No one can precisely peg the future. But when we study the details already available to us and think more expansively about how fundamental human needs and powerful technologies are likely to converge going forward, it is difficult to conclude that tomorrow’s industries and sector borders will look like today’s. Massive, multi-industry ecosystems are on the rise, and enormous amounts of value will be on the move. Companies that have long operated with relative insularity in traditional industries may be most open to cross-boundary attack. Yet with the right strategy and approach, leaders can exploit new openings to go on offense, as well. Now is the time to take stock and to start shaping nascent opportunities.”

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the scope and depth as well as the quality of Venkat Atluri and Miklós Dietz’s material. I congratulate them on The Ecosystem Economy. It is a brilliant achievement.

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