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The Business Ecosystem Alliance

Thinkers50 co-founders welcome the formation of the Business Ecosystem Alliance. 

September 2020: The inaugural meeting of the Business Ecosystem Alliance was held on 16 September under the auspice of the annual Rendanheyi1 Conference organized by the Haier Group.  

Addressing the meeting via video, Stuart Crainer, co-founder of Thinkers50 and director of the European Rendanheyi Centre, said that the aim of the Alliance as set out in its Charter was to encourage knowledge sharing about business ecosystems and to provide practical advice.  

Attending virtually from around the world were Zhang Ruimin, CEO and chairman of the Haier Group, Professor Bill Fischer from IMD, and guest of honour, Professor James F. Moore, who’s seminal HBR article, ‘Predators and prey:  a new ecology of competition,’ introduced the ecosystem idea to the business world. 

Professor Moore’s original article states that: “A business ecosystem, like its biological counterpart, gradually moves from a random collection of elements to a more structured community. Think of a prairie grassland that is succeeded by stands of conifers, which in turn evolve into a more complex forest dominated by hardwoods. Business ecosystems condense out of the original swirl of capital, customer interest, and talent generated by a new innovation, just as successful species spring from the natural resources of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients.”

The meeting was introduced by Des Dearlove, co-founder of Thinkers50 and co-director of the European Rendanheyi Centre, who said: Thinkers50 is delighted to support the formation of the Business Ecosystem Alliance and Zero Distance Awards.” 

Dearlove pointed to the publication of a new book, Ecosystems Inc: Understanding, harnessing and developing organizational ecosystems, published by Thinkers50 in collaboration with ECSI Consulting and the Haier Model Research Institute, as an example of the Alliance’s ability to share ideas. 

My own hope for the Business Ecosystem Alliance,” he added, “is that we can be the honeybees of this evolving community, buzzing around collecting ideas and pollinating the different parts of the forest.”

Also attending the inaugural meeting were Simone Cicero, CEO of Boundaryless, and Amit Kapoor, Dr Annika Steiber, Ellen Dick, and Evgeniya Serdiuk the directors of Rendanheyi Centres in India, Silicon Valley, Singapore and Russia.

More than 20 organizations and experts from 11 different countries have already signed the Charter. They include: 

  • Michael Jacobides, London Business School (UK)
  • Bill Fischer, IMD (Switzerland)
  • Isaac Getz, ESCP (France)
  • Fabrizio Salvador, IE Business School (Spain)
  • Alessandro Di Fiore, ECSI Consulting (Italy)
  • Simone Cicero, Boundaryless (Italy)
  • Antonio Nieto Rodriguez, Strategy Implementation Institute (Belgium)
  • Amit Kapoor, Institute for Competitiveness (India)
  • Pim de Morree & Joost Minaar, Corporate Rebels (Holland)
  • Annika Steiber, Menlo College (US)
  • Alf Rehn, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark)
  • Nathan Furr, Insead (France)
  • Karolin Frankenberger, University of St Gallen (Switzerland) 
  • Dan Toma (US)
  • Stuart Crainer, Thinkers50 (UK)
  • Des Dearlove, Thinkers50 (UK)
  • Zhang Ruimin, Haier (China)

1Rendanheyi is the name given to Haier’s revolutionary management model.  A Chinese word, it fuses the words for employee and user value. The Rendanheyi model emphasises giving people responsibility, using technology to eliminate distance to consumers and developing mutually beneficial ecosystems.  

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