During Oslo Innovation Week this year SMOC.ai and Epicenter co-hosted an event about the power of modern business ecosystems. This event sought to both educate and inspire the 200 people in the audience to get a deeper understanding of what a business ecosystem is, and how we are both responsible for (and reliant on) them to thrive, both in business, and as a species.
Event host, Matt Smith, introduced the event by throwing it back to the origin of the word ‘ecosystem’, which was first coined back in the 1930’s by Arthur Tansley as a collective term for a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather and landscapes, work together to form a bubble of life.
Applying the structure of natural ecosystems to how we do business
Ecosystems are tools and environments for collaboration, growth and development. They’re a means of helping the other inhabitants so that they can all thrive. “It’s all about making the pie bigger, not fighting over smaller pieces”, as Matt said.
How does this apply to business? Why do we need business ecosystems? It turns out that innovation and tech is at the core of the modern business ecosystems, according to a Harvard Business Review article. That’s something Epicenters very own Co-founder and first speaker of the event, Ola Ahlvarsson, could stand behind.
Ola talked about the big picture of ecosystems and collaborations alongside partnerships in the world – and for the future. We live in a fast paced world where there are a lot of threats and scary things happening. Business development is no longer linear, but exponential – and that changes things radically, and on a global scale.
Ola Ahlvarsson from Epicenter Photo: Omar Diaz Saldana
Businesses’ responsibilities in an exponentially developing world
Exponential development is scary. Polarization and radical movements are somewhat consequences of growth and globalization. Tech warfare is a fact and some would say we’re already at war. But development, growth and innovation is also necessary. It’s a means for making the pie bigger in a sustainable way and getting humanity out of the troubles we’ve caused for ourselves. Businesses are at the forefront of this. We look to companies for solutions and improvements. We look to them for answers – and to find those answers, they need to collaborate, partner up and expand the business ecosystems beyond homogeneous representation, beyond country borders.
May Haukdahl Wilson from Norwegian Reward & Simon Flo from Salesforce Photo: Omar Diaz Saldana
This all sounds very big and incomprehensible, but business ecosystems also exist on smaller scales. At the event, Norwegian Reward and Salesforce also took the stage to talk about how ecosystems and partnerships can be golden tickets into customer loyalty, increased revenue and, if executed correctly, in turn a way to increase the welfare and contribution to our societies.
Making room for everyone makes us stronger
Simon Flo, Country Leader Alliances & Channels from Salesforce demonstrated exactly the latter when talking about how they work to grow and expand their community; If we make room for everyone, then, not only will our revenue and sales grow exponentially – we will also have the opportunity to employ more people and give back to the world. This coming from a company who doubled their number of employees and quadrupled the ecosystem by using this way of doing business makes for a best practice example. At Salesforce there’s room for everyone. There’s enough pie for everyone and that ultimately makes the world a slightly better place every single day.
The event’s final speaker, CEO and Founder of SMOC.ai, Kristoffer Kvam, supports this way of thinking. In fact these principles are essential for SMOC.ai as a company. They work by the principle; Together we are stronger and more powerful, which has proven to work out for SMOC.ai who has skyrocketed by selling their services via partnerships.
Kristoffer Kvam from SMOC.ai. Photo: Omar Diaz Saldana
So business ecosystems and natural ecosystems are very much alike. They exist to induce growth, development and they are here to keep us all alive. Both companies and the human species. It’s the inhabitants responsibility that each ecosystem develop in a sustainable way. And the only way to do that is to make the pie bigger and not fight over crumbs.
Ola Ahvarsson, Founder of Epicenter, stated that 2022 is the year of innovation and 2023 is the year of execution. Let’s make that happen by nurturing our business ecosystems and working together.