Cover of Ecosystem Edge by Arnoud De Meyer and Peter J. Williamson
Ecosystem Edge
Sustaining Competitiveness in the Face of Disruption
Arnoud De Meyer and Peter J. Williamson

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April 2020
224 pages.
$35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503610217
Ebook ISBN: 9781503611863

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To succeed in the face of disruptive competition, companies will need to harness the power of a wide range of partners who can bring different skills, experience, capacity, and their own networks to the task.

With the advent of new technologies, rapidly changing customer needs, and emerging competitors, companies across more and more industries are seeing their time-honored ways of making money under threat. In this book, Arnoud De Meyer and Peter J. Williamson explain how business can meet these challenges by building a large and dynamic ecosystem of partners that reinforce, strengthen, and encourage innovation in the face of ongoing disruption.

While traditional companies know how to assemble and manage supply chains, leading the development of a vibrant ecosystem requires a different set of capabilities. Ecosystem Edge illustrates how executives need to leave notions of command and control behind in favor of strategies that will attract partners, stimulate learning, and promote the overall health of the network. To understand the practical steps executives can take to achieve this, the authors focus on eight core examples that cross industries and continents: Alibaba Group, Amazon.com, ARM, athenahealth, Dassault Systèmes S.E., The Guardian, Rolls-Royce, and Thomson Reuters. By following the principles outlined in this book, leaders can learn how to unlock rapid innovation, tap into new and original sources of value, and practice organizational flexibility. As a result, companies can gain the ecosystem edge, a key advantage in responding to the challenges of disruption that business sees all around it today.

About the authors

Arnoud De Meyer is University Professor at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University. He is the coauthor of Process Theory: The Principles of Operations Management (2018) and Global Future: The Next Challenge of Asian Business (2005).

Peter J. Williamson is Professor of International Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and is Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. He is the coauthor of The Competitive Advantage of Emerging Country Multinationals (2013) and Dragons at Your Door: How Chinese Cost Innovation is Disrupting the Rules of Global Competition (2007).

"Business ecosystems are redefining the rules of competition in today's digital economy. In this groundbreaking book, Arnoud De Meyer and Peter Williamson provide a comprehensive guide to executives who are seeking to get their head around this new way of competing. Based on detailed case studies of some of the hottest companies in the world, such as Alibaba and Amazon Web Services, the authors show how our old ideas about competitive advantage are no longer relevant, and what the alternative might look like. They provide excellent advice for any company that is seeking to gain an edge in this new digital world."

—Julian Birkinshaw, London Business School

"Peter Williamson and Arnoud De Meyer are leading academics who have also led global businesses. As such, Ecosystem Edge is the rare book that is both full of big-picture, complex insight—showing the reader how business outcomes are the product of networks, partnerships, and collaboration—and also current examples, clear tools, and specific takeaways so that executives can convert ideas into action."

—Tanya Menon, Professor, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

"This book provides a decisive approach to the new nature of innovation and the power of value networks. In an experience-based economy, the game-changers will not be those with the most automated production systems, but those with the best-developed knowledge and know-how assets, whose business environments involve subcontractors as full-fledged partners in value creation."

—Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes