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In the Ecosystem Economy, What’s Your Strategy?


Harvard Business Review


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Jacobides M G

Publication Year



In many contexts, the firm is no longer an independent strategic actor. Its success depends on collaboration with other firms in a designed ecosystem spanning multiple sectors. In these cases, traditional strategy frameworks are of little help. Instead, the author says, companies should focus on five questions: • Can you help other firms create value? Success is as much about helping other firms innovate as it is about innovating yourself. • What role should you play? You don’t necessarily need to be the chief architect of your ecosystem; sometimes you’re better off sharing the role or being a complementor. • What should the terms be? There are two key governance choices: who can access the ecosystem, and how exclusively attached your partners must be. • Can your organization adapt? Customers’ needs and complementors’ desire and ability to collaborate can shift dramatically, requiring changes in your allocation of resources. • How many ecosystems should you manage? Some successful orchestrators head up multiple ecosystems—each covering a different part of the business, and each leading to a different path for expansion.

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