Ecosystems: It Takes a Village. From Bright Idea to Thriving Environment…

It’s a simple fact, businesses need much more than just a great product or service to flourish: a substantial concept depends on more than just its product and target market.  Indeed in this first week of CEU Business’s School month long New York City Module, we delved deep into the reality that it takes a village  or ecosystem of resources to promote the right atmosphere in order for a good idea to translate into a thriving business.  What resources in a given market need to be present in order to support business development for a particular venture idea, to help get it off the ground?   

Resolutions to these questions can be evoked within use of the CAPTURE framework – © 2014 Acceleration Group, Inc. discussed by Alejandro Crawford and Brian Gerski of Acceleration Group (, assisting those with bright concepts analyze the variables that need nourishing to create the right atmosphere for their good ideas.  What are the Cash & capital requisite at each stage; Access to customers and key channels needed; Prototypes, demos and & pipeline of innovation; Team: talent, training, tools and trust required to get out of the gate; Users: for providing feedback and spreading the word, Relationships: that open doors and provide guidance; and Economics: for monetizing and scaling the venture?  What groups needs to be addressed, i.e. governmental authorities, industry associations, and the like.  A vital point to businesses is that by picking a location, you are already picking your brand, your customers, what your proximity to talent and a host of other bindings. 

Justifiably so, the entrepreneurially spirited often very attached with their ideas, such that it is hard to see the shortcomings it their invention, highlighting the indispensable feedback aspect of an ecosystem.  Reach out for feedback of your valued friends: essentially developing your own informal advisory board, to solicit the honest, hard core and “no holds barred” feedback you need to go back to the drawing board if needed.  Great ideas that have the actually necessary throughput to come to fruition, come more from various points of input, and depend of different lines of thought and experiences to help to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  In this competitive landscape, products need a real point of differentiation, to specifically answer the question of what really sets it apart from the rest, and is this advantage maintainable?  The right, and sometimes harsh feedback, can let you know if your product really sets itself apart from just the baseline points of parity: the minimum requirements needed to just to maintain the basic levels expected in the marketplace for the product.

Furthermore, just like businesses and people, cities also need to adapt and change, or else dry up and become extinct.  History has proven: what has always made you strong, can eventually turn into your weakness. New York City, however historically bustling and mighty, had always been extremely dependent on the financial services industry.  The city has had to adapt from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and one way it has done so is by smartly realizing it needs to become more visibly associated with the IT industry and thus developed its own ‘Silicon Alley’ to mirror California’s IT ecosystem and hub.  Industries either decay or have to face times of evolution, but in the meantime those assets sit and need to be redistributed to the ecosystem.  A look at all of the human capital in NY City displaced because of wiping out of banks and financial services are related firms, has caused the city to look at its trademark industry and see the need for the city to evolve.

Another great point about ecosystems, is that you can’t be everything to everyone, a point made by Aaron of Pfizer’s ( business analytics department who spoke of the company’s multinational emerging market strategies, and how businesses use data to continuously provide iterative exploration and investigation of past business performances to gain insight and drive business planning.  Many MNCs have realized in emerging markets that they cannot compete on lowest costs and be mass producers in certain markets, where local producers are able to cut corners on areas such as compliance.  This leaves many MNCs focusing on the higher quality segment of markets, middle income markets of emerging regions.  This presents succinct challenges of entry into the not yet fully tapped  yet wealthy, large and attractive emerging nations.  One such example is Nigeria,  plagued by dictatorship and a minute upper crust, wealthy portion of society, yet wide impoverished bottom portion of the pyramid, with virtually no middle class in between that can be marketed to.

Firms need to ask how are the very people and therefore social dynamics within their business ecosystems are changing; industry change will often stem from there as some of the most disruptive products come from solving societies problems in ways they didn’t even know could be solved.  The best ideas have evolved from not giving people what they want based on historical market data, but rather giving them what they don’t know is possible based on what you can see they need & want, yet has not yet been able to be proved by the market.  A detailed analysis of your ecosystem can assist this ever challenging mission.




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