It is that combination effect of the government building, laying in ‘accepted’ guidelines and encouraging the infrastructure, it is the business entrepreneur and the social conditions that are enabling so much.
Dynamism is the quality of being characterized by vigorous activity and progress. It projects an energy, force, power and vigor and a strong desire to make something happen. It is the manifestation of these forces (conditions) that is constantly pushing the boundaries of our understanding of what is possible in the ecosystem and platform approach. The Chinese have found ways to experiment, develop and constantly create a real motion within the system.
The Chinese have found ways to experiment, develop and constantly create a real motion within the system.
We have been witnessing the dynamism and strength of their economy over a number of years. I started to visit China on a constant basis from the early nineties and each visit simply struck me was the sheer force of change occurring. You found it often hard to comprehend and wondered how so many people caught up in this were adapting and adjusting.
Each of us has a view on China, it sometimes perhaps confronts some of our Western values or sensitivities but we often make the real mistake of looking through our lens of the world and not stepping back and taking a wider prism to balance understanding and learn from this evolution, it fascinates me.
My fear is the West is either lagging or not running hard enough to keep any competitive edge for much longer unless it takes a more outwardly curious view of the world, after a decade or so of inward perspective and regain the real flair for innovation and creativity.
We are far too much orientated as incrementalists in the West. For me, one of the needs to understand, learn from and adapt is the way the Chinese are undertaking this ecosystem and platform design to harness the forces. It is not simply copying it is understanding the roots of this design to ignite our own creative juices.
For me, one of the needs to understand, learn from and adapt, is the way the Chinese are undertaking this ecosystem and platform design to harness the forces. It is not simply copying it is understanding the roots of this design to ignite our own creative juices.
As you are aware from a recent post I enjoy reading Haydn Shaughnessy’s thinking, especially on Platforms. He released a new book in May of this year Platform Disruption Wave: A new theory of disruption and the eclipse of American power.
You might not agree with his contentious view on the eclipse of American power suggested in this book, but it is delivering a series of messages that we should take stock of and consider. Let me quote an early passage or two as it does paint the scene well:
“Chinese platforms are reshaping the economic system, and American platforms, in many cases, are the also-rans; whereas five years ago we needed to understand platform strategy, we now need to understand its power to disrupt whole economies.
One of my arguments is that Asian culture and it’s middle class, plus the decline of ours and the rise of the platform system are forging this epochal shift in power.
In fact, for 40 years, Asian innovation culture has contained an exceptional advantage: the ability to constantly improve. In contrast, the west has fallen in love with the hero’s journey. We are obsessed with entrepreneurial celebrity and riches and hero narratives when the real task is constantly to improve what we have.
Without a reversion to an ethos like that, we will struggle to deal with the disruption…..”
1). The Social Conditions building and leveraging this part of the Chinese Dynamism
2) The Ecosystem Approach ‘feeds’ the conditions in the System
With only a ‘recent’ history of significant growth, with the little (present) legacy in IT systems and the encouraging of multiple start-up communities the ecosystem is ripe for evolution.
Haydn has written an excellent paper with Zenon Kapron on the banking changes going on in China. They explore The BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) as highly scaled internet and mobile platforms with an IT architecture that is coincidentally primed for digital banking. The BAT are now banks. In fact, they are the world’s first true digital banks.
They provide this as a ‘teasing’ opener:
“Backed by a growing capital base that is never tied up in inventory, the financial platforms of China’s big tech companies are powered by big data, informed by automated feedback loops from customer activity, driven by business experimentation rather than IT, function at an unprecedented scale and operate at a new degree of service integration. All the while they are protected from global competition through China’s use of the omnipresent Great Firewall (GFW), selling to consumers who are captive to the China Internet environment”.
To investigate any of the following: of Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Alipay, or exploring Sesame Credit and how it works (part of Alibaba) and Taobao gives you a distinct understanding of the evolving power of some of the top Chinese platforms and ecosystem designs.
As Jack Ma said, the founder of Alibaba: “We are interested in catching shrimp, not the whales. When you catch
shrimp, then you will also catch the whales”
As Haydn writes, “Alibaba doesn’t hunt whales, the company never takes on western giants in their backyard. They play the long game, preferring to develop new markets as western institutions withdraw.”
The long game is very much part of Chinese thinking, presently their backyard is stacked against the Western firm to compete on equal ground. Understanding the ‘possible’ boundaries and learning to build and compete in Ecosystems and operate within multiple platforms is a global competitive imperative, we all need to compete in new ways.
There is a lot to learn and understand in exploring the approaches that the Chinese are taking in their thinking about what makes their Ecosystems and Platforms work. This is in delivering value, in extending reach, scope, and scale; speed is of the essence but they are constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries of what is known and accepted into the connected.
Understanding the ‘possible’ boundaries and learning to build and compete in Ecosystems is a global competitive imperative. Look out to see what is possible but in any Ecosystem design, you must learn to be highly adaptive and responsive.
By Paul Hobcraft
I simply enjoy researching innovation, applying this to provide novel solutions and advice, coaching and consulting to individuals, teams and organizations through my business, Agility Innovation Specialists. As an advisory business we aim to stimulate and deliver sound innovation practice, researching topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as align innovation specifically to organizations core capabilities.I write and contribute different views on innovation and its management through my own blog, paul4innovating.com and contribute into the different and leading providers of innovation knowledge.
This article was first published at Ecosystems4innovators