Ecosystem management: understand once and for all what it is

100 Open Startups
4 min readDec 19, 2022

See how your corporation can extract value from managing ecosystems

Nowadays, innovation in companies depends more and more on acting in ecosystems. That is, with the structuring of open innovation plans, corporations need to interact with different agents , from the inside out.

It is necessary to proliferate the word of open innovation internally, making all employees realize the importance of innovations based on collaboration. With this thought, innovation in the company is increasing and hence the need to interact with more people and more companies, for example, startups.

This set of participants, responsible for the development and delivery of innovative actions inside and outside the company , represents an ecosystem . They are agents who do not need to be part of the same team, of the same company. They can act independently. The big difference is that for the ecosystem to work , these agents need to work collectively, generating a coherent value proposition for everyone.

What is ecosystem management

Knowing, therefore, what an ecosystem is, it becomes easier to talk about ecosystem management. It is nothing more than the planning , organization and execution of activities . That is, how the corporation manages all fronts: from the supplier to the customer, for example. In the image below, we exemplify how the iFood ecosystem is composed.

In the image, it is possible to identify several agents, such as: supermarkets, restaurants, delivery and payment operators.

Thus, the management of the iFood ecosystem must, mandatorily, integrate all people who are in all layers of the company’s activities. Just imagine: a customer orders a meal, he pays from the pix and when the meal arrives, the delivery guy says he hasn’t been paid. The tendency is for this customer to blame iFood, and not the company responsible for the payment transaction. The result: iFood loses value in the eyes of the customer.

Based on these explanations, we ask: does your company manage ecosystems? Like? Do you know how to identify which agents make up your ecosystem? Does your company see how the value proposition is created together with other agents? Do you identify barriers to managing ecosystems in your company? Do you identify pitfalls for managing ecosystems in your company?

Yes, there are many questions, because ecosystem management is not as simple as it seems. It is not enough, for example, to create a hub or a platform to manage your ecosystem. However, ecosystem management is undoubtedly an action full of benefits.

Ecosystem management: benefits and how to put it into practice

The list is long! With a well-aligned ecosystem, the corporation tends to stand out in the market and, thus, new possibilities for development will emerge. Some of the benefits of managing ecosystems:

  • Business scalability;
  • Greater engagement of the agents that make up the ecosystem;
  • Creation of a rich value proposition, which encompasses the entire company and reaches the final consumer;
  • Strengthening the organizational culture;
  • Greater visibility in the innovation ecosystem.

Since ecosystem management is a mandatory action for anyone working with open innovation, some difficulties will indeed arise during the structuring of this management. It is important that the corporation seeks to understand how the innovation ecosystem works , who composes it, what are the characteristics of the agents that work with the corporation.

For example, the corporation needs to understand how the processes of a startup are. Only then will the relationship between the parties work well. In the 100–10–1 Startups Program , a network training program, you get to know and get closer to one of the main players in the innovation ecosystem, training yourself to generate value with this ecosystem through open innovation with startups, and you still have the opportunity to monitor and anticipate new technologies and solutions in your area.

Putting ecosystem management into practice demands, therefore, a complete analysis of your corporation and the innovative processes adopted. It is also necessary to know, relate and contribute, in practice, with startups. Don’t forget to also list the other types of suppliers that are part of your ecosystem and how you should generate value with them. In addition, interacting with other players, such as executives from other corporations, is also very important, as you can have very relevant exchanges with people who are going through — or have gone through — similar difficulties to yours.