If we have learned anything from innovation studies, it is that for an organization to succeed it needs to harvest value and capabilities from its ecosystem. It must learn from others, and learning requires sharing. The ecosystem itself will be the competitive advantage of the future and managing it will be a core function in your operations.
So, how do we bridge the gap from a linear and closed organization to an eco-system of partners?
Your organization is probably, to some extent, driven by data already, and ecosystems are the only sustainable systems where data can continually provide value. Data itself grows in value when it is shared, re-used and combined. However, you will not have all the data you require yourself, and you also need to find ways to source external data.
It is almost impossible for an organization or a society to own or even just manage all the data necessary for their mission. Hence, agile ways of orchestrating data assets should be defined and various data types should be experimented with in order to create the value you need.
One strong example of such a data eco-system is our iterative collaboration with organizations tied to the Trondheim region of Norway. The municipality is wholly committed to delivering on their UN mandate as a lighthouse-city for reaching global sustainability goals. They are gathering data from businesses in the Trøndelag region in order to conduct experiments, hopefully resulting in innovations that will make citizens of the region more conscious of their carbon footprints and even enable them to take corrective actions.
How do you specify a citizen’s carbon footprint? I don’t know. I don’t think anybody does. But if you can collect data from multiple sources, on individual transport preferences – energy consumption, household consumption, food preferences, investments etc. – then you can build a better profile, a digital twin of a person’s carbon footprint, and offer advice based on this knowledge. This is our objective in Trøndelag. And I am confident we will succeed.
We don’t yet know exactly the final algorithms or how we would ensure consent from data subjects if we were to launch a service tomorrow. But we know that none of us have the capabilities or data to do it alone. Now we have found a way to share data within a sandbox and experiment to reach a goal that is larger than ourselves.
Neither participating in relevant ecosystems nor reaping their benefits can happen overnight. But playing the waiting game does not lead to any benefits either, that is certain. These exceptional times may offer a window of opportunity for looking into which kinds of ecosystem are most beneficial. Sharing data is a mindset, and I believe it will be the root of much good going forward.
Let’s cooperate and harvest more value from data together
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can discuss new possibilities for partnering to create an ecosystem.
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