Ecosystem Mapping Tool
The concept of “ecosystem” offers the opportunity to explore the interdependencies and interactions between various organizations in business innovation. Ecosystems allow firms to create value that could not be achieved alone. The emphasis in an ecosystem is on the way different actors constantly cooperate and interact to co-create value within the ecosystem. The interaction between actors which evolves continuous cooperation, conflicts and adjustments lead to shifting positions between actors and creating new roles in the ecosystem. A complex and multi-staged process is required to design a business ecosystem including good knowledge about different factors that can be integrated within the ecosystem. The innovativeness degree of the ecosystem is an important factor for the survival of the firms within the ecosystem. Mapping the innovation ecosystem is considered the best way to determine whether the firm set realistic performance expectations for innovation strategy or not. Since various target markets are available for innovation, mapping ecosystems for different markets can differ significantly even if the main innovation remains the same.
The purpose of this tool is to have an overview of different stakeholders and potential new collaborators. When mapping the ecosystem, pay attention to the position of each actor and include as many actors in your network as possible to see where in the ecosystem they belong and how you can collaborate and create value. The initial information on the designed business case can be collected and analyzed according to the instructions provided in the following materials.
The finalized ecosystem map describes the relationships between business actors and can be utilized for identifying missing actors/resources thus signalling the business opportunities and for refining the business model of the focus organization. Further, the map provides systematized input for commonly used business model developing tools.
The template can be roughly divided into two sides: the supply side and the customer side. Each side in turn consists of several general categories:
Include both commodity (e.g. electricity, water) providers and peculiar raw material suppliers (depending on the specific case it could be e.g. hydrogen provider).
The broad group includes other vital partners (such as e.g. equipment providers).
Include the high variety of stakeholders and beneficiaries which cannot be explicitly designated as customers or suppliers but are nevertheless important for the planning ecosystem (e.g. local government bodies, local community).
Include service providers and intermediaries such as e.g. transportation companies, operators of hydrogen refuelling stations, installation and maintenance. Depending on the nature of the specific ecosystem these functions can be partially carried on either by raw materials providers or by other suppliers
Include direct and indirect customers (both private, business and public, depending on the nature of the specific solution).
To improve the visualization and readability of the designed map we suggest using different shapes (for printable template) or colours (for online template) for different types of actors. In particular, we find it important to distinguish between the supply and customer sides of the ecosystem. During the initial design phase, it is advisable not to mix different types of actors so each category is located on their own part of the map (later actors can be rearranged to improve the visual appearance of the map). The examples of ecosystems can be found in the regional case examples.