USING BUSINESS ECOSYSTEMS MAPPING TO GENERATE NEW COMPETITIVE VALUE PROPOSITIONS
As manufacturing-firm strategies move from product-centric towards those in which a higher degree of service is associated with the product a company’s business ecosystem ‒ the collaborative network needed to build value for the customer ‒ often becomes more complex. When considering the collaborative possibilities, firms can find it challenging to identify and compare the potential value created by alternative strategic actions such as radical new partnerships and partnering arrangements. To support capability development, strategic thinking is shifting to include a broader approach to understanding and conceptualizing business ecosystems. The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) and IfM Education and Consultancy Services Ltd. are applying a novel way to allow managers to visualize and understand their firm’s external complexity, which we refer to as business ecosystem value mapping. The technique has been used in strategic workshops with industry partners. This paper includes a case study of one such workshop, focusing on how the industry partner deepened their understanding of value exchange in their business ecosystem. This understanding was critical to the workshop purpose: to decide whether and how to proceed with a tender offering. From an inauspicious starting point ‒ the firm considered itself relatively uncompetitive in relation to the tender ‒ the workshop led to the identification of eight new value creation opportunities from which four propositions were selected to form the basis of an offering. The partner’s subsequent tender offering was successful. Following acceptance, the partner cited a number of these propositions as the reasons why the offering was chosen. The paper seeks to illuminate how the two-day workshop process, built on strong preparation to ensure that the right strategic questions were addressed, developed understanding and application of value creation and exchange in offerings based on collaborative ecosystems. We then suggest some implications for further work.