D. Who do I look up to?

As we inspire you with examples of top performers from your industry and beyond, we challenge you to look beyond their accomplishments and see what truly sets them apart from the rest.

Whilst their peers think in terms of traditional supply chains, most forerunners think in terms of ecosystems. They no longer focus on what to sell but on which problems to solve in order to create value. As problems such as soaring healthcare costs and rapid urbanization become more complex, they transcend industry boundaries. Forerunners understand that they can no longer rely on their own resources, but must tap into the resources of others in order to realize value. In such an ecosystem, monetization is no longer based on selling products or services but on facilitating interactions between stakeholders.

E. Who am I up against?

As we identify key competitors and substitutes, we encourage you to look beyond industry borders in order to anticipate and act upon competitive challenges and unique collaboration opportunities.

Complex problems transcend industry boundaries and, in order to solve them, you want to share in the benefits of an ecosystem. A good place to start is to keep an eye on what tech companies are doing and to jump in on the action by partnering up. Tech companies, both start-ups and titans such as Cisco, IBM and Apple are shaping ecosystems across every industry as they use technology to design and deliver more efficient and effective solutions. Often, they use big data they have gathered as a starting point for defining customer expectations. Once they know what customers want and how they want it, they move in with a minimum viable concept and start experimenting. This agile approach gives them a competitive edge over incumbents who often have sunk costs in hard assets.