Introduction to the Drucker Forum 2019
The Power of Ecosystems - Managing in a Networked World
by Richard Straub
Ecosystems are everywhere, not confined to natural environments — increasingly, we see businesses, public sector institutions, and third-sector organizations all moving beyond their traditional operational borders and creating or participating in new, flexible, and adaptive networks of enterprises jointly pursuing ambitious purposes. There are the ecosystems of developers that have been mobilized by powerful tech firms such as Microsoft and Apple; the innovation clusters embedded in certain geographic ecosystems; and the legions of lean, agile organizations that have proliferated as large infrastructure builders provide robust platforms. Long before these recent developments, Peter Drucker recognized that complementary organizations and institutions together make up a "social ecology"— a complex adaptive system that is new and man-made – in which entities of all sizes and strategies interact and operate in an increasingly fast changing and complex environment. In today’s digitally enabled markets, Drucker’s concept of a social, business ecology has become full-blown reality. With a new “nervous system” provided by digital networks and increasing machine intelligence, pioneering players such as Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, and Google — as well as long-established companies such as BMW, Haier, Novo Nordisk, and Rio Tinto — are engaging in the new leadership imperative to leverage sprawling commercial ecosystems.
The 11th Drucker Forum will enlighten and equip leaders across economic sectors facing the growing opportunities and challenges of business ecosystems. Discussions will address key questions such as
- What does it mean to be an effective leader in a business ecosystem? What new competencies are required in these more ambiguous and richly connected environments?
- As advanced digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, and the internet of things spread, how will business ecosystems evolve?
- What governance mechanisms make sense for ecosystems?
- Are there different types of business ecosystems and, if so, what are their distinguishing characteristics?
- Under what conditions do productive ecosystems emerge? What role should the state play as facilitator and/or regulator?
- Can more generative ecosystems be designed or can they only be cultivated?
- Is any business an island? Must every manager think more expansively about achieving performance gains?
- How should a company’s broader ecosystem influence its own organizational design? In an era of networks and platforms, do we need a new “theory of the firm”?
- How do the competitive dynamics of ecosystems complicate strategy development and execution?
- Is management theory and practice keeping pace with the rapid emergence of complex business ecosystems? Do we have the concepts and tools to cope with—or better, to capitalize on—the shift?
Chief Executive Officer, Emergn Limited
Founder & CEO, NeuroLeap
CEO Europe, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)
Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy
Deputy Dean, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School
Dean and Professor of Marketing at IE Business School
Senior Advisor, Peter Drucker Society Europe
Professor of Practice at Northeastern University; Distinguished Executive in Residence at Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Founder & CEO, The Practice of Innovation; Former CEO of SRI International
Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios.
VP and chief Internet evangelist, Google
Co-Founder & VP Engineering, Viv Labs; Co-Founder, Siri Inc.
Chief People, Education & Culture Officer, Mazars
Ideator and Partner, Platform Design Toolkit
Managing Director People & Organization globally and Head of People and Organization CE, Capgemini Invent
Global Director Social Innovation, Steelcase
Founder & CEO Buurtzorg Nederland
Senior advisor, Internet, Tech & Digital Transformation.
Solvay Chaired Professor of Technological Innovation and Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, INSEAD
Professor of Leadership & Management, HBS
Director of Policy & Research, Socitm
Professor of Innovation Management, IMD
Academic Director, Executive MBA HSG, Executive School of Management, Technology and Law; University of St.Gallen
Director of the Institute of Management and Strategy, School of Management; University of St.Gallen
Creative thinking pioneer and executive coach
Chairman Emeritus Tupperware Brands Corporation
Editor, Bloomberg Opinion
Executive Director, MIT Leadership Center, MIT Sloan School of Management
Author, New Geography of Innovation
Professor, Columbia Business School
Managing Director, Austro Control GmbH
Digital Anthropologist and author
Venture capitalist; start-up advisor
Founder & CEO of Citymart
Director of Strategy Implementation, Undergraduate Programs,
Hult International Business School
CEO, Infineon Technologies Austria
PTDO Chief Management Officer, US Department of Defense
Management Editor, Financial Times
Head of Institute for Strategic Management,
WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Director Business School Development, EFMD GN
Founder and Chairman Powering Precision Health; CEO Quanterix
Don’t expect to get simple answers.
But expect to be inspired.
Opening and Welcome at the 9th Global Peter Drucker Forum 2017