Ecosystems require orchestration and continuous stewardship.

Re-evaluating old truths 

For many firms the financial crisis became a trigger for re-evaluating the business model. Suddenly old truths and proven methods were not producing expected results. This situation required firms to become more outward looking and explore new opportunities in collaboration with key partners in the business ecosystem. Such transformation towards a higher degree of collaboration proceeds gradually. There are five distinct levels in how this development progresses. The five levels are not separate or mutually exclusive. They form a systemic entity portraying the gradual shift from a firm-centric transaction focus towards co-specialization and joint capability development in a dynamic network. 

Five levels of orchestration

Co-experiencing the future, Level 1, recognizes the need to engage in an open dialogue with multiple stakeholders to agree upon common worldviews and future priorities. One tool for this is scenario building.

Level 2 is about setting these priorities into a customer context and choosing a set of customers with whom to more deeply engage in joint activities to develop the new offerings. Semi-open innovation is an example of how customers can be involved.

External resources are needed to provide offerings that truly meet customer expectations. How to combine external resources with internal ones for the new offerings represents Level 3 when establishing the orchestrated ecosystem. The three dimensional offering can be used as a tool when designing the offering.

Level 4 will be reached when the firm has been able to make the new collaborative settings institutionalized. The firm is then actively orchestrating collaboration with partners within a semi-open network. When defining the roles and responsibilities the capability map is a useful tool.

The institutionalization may ask for many years to become explicitly recognized in the market. Once this has been achieved the orchestrator actively represents the ecosystem, in order to serve itself and the partners in the best possible way. This is the final Level 5 type of collaboration. In nurturing the ecosystem it is important to support all three layers of the orchestration architecture.