Dr. William Benton Ph.D.
Regardless of how your sector is structured, defining and then working around a central problem can be accelerated through formalized coordination – and collaboration – with others in your sector.
To be clear, the model The Rocket Factory proposes is not interested in re-making the kinds of solutions that have worked in the past – industry associations, trade conferences, and limited partnership contracts have all served well when the cost of gathering information was high but the complexity of the problems addressed was relatively low.
These organizations still serve critically important purposes, but they are often designed to create a meaningful background to industry, rather than being tuned for complex problem-solving.
For example, can competitors come together as strategic partners – at least temporarily?
Discovering a unique, sector-level problem only comes from a preliminary process of identifying the overlapping concerns in the sectoral ecosystem.
Deciding what balance of sharing plans and sharing work can create new value for all parts creates a tremendous opportunity for deliberate ecosystem building.
The crucial aspect is to correctly define the deeper sector-level problem, not the usual problems like profitably connecting customers with products/services (“networks”, not “buckets”, as we covered in Part II).
This is one foundation of The Rocket Factory founder Todd Feldman’s vision for sector-level transformation – to bring to light problems that can be defined as either:
Identified, but seen as a fact of life.
Not identified overtly as a part of planning.
Identified, but (mistakenly) seen as a firm-level opportunity for strategic advantage.
Working with other firms in strategic collaboration, particularly during uncertain times, offers a net benefit for all involved.
Fluid, temporary teamwork is a crucial part of all kinds of projects – basic research is largely team-based now, and emerging industries are typically conceptualized as being ecosystem-first, rather than being crudely competitive.
Transformational strategy fixes problems and creates newer and better modes of working as part of the solution.
The temporary nature of ecosystem problem solving also alleviates problems associated with the ecosystem models described in Part II in this series.
A “hub” won’t participate unless they have an actual problem (they’ll run out of flexible internal resources before they fix the problem by themselves), and a “bucket” of firms will cease to be a bucket if participants recognize their common problems and shared solutions.
So, transformation can turn buckets into networks, give networks real interaction standards, and ideally keep a network from sliding into being a hub and spoke model.
Temporary “councils” can lead to new ways of organizing and working.
Think of it as optimization or improvement for a new economy.