Innovation Ecosystems: Why the Big Picture is Important

Consultants are often accused of focussing too much on the “big picture” and not appreciating the issues relating to implementation. While this is sometimes true, ignoring the big picture can lead you down the wrong road from where it becomes expensive or even impossible to recover.

An Innovation Ecosystem is a “big picture” issue. The ecosystem comprises all the constituent parts required to enable an innovation- and entrepreneur-based economy. And, as with any economy, there are many players, each with their own inputs and outputs, that must work in collaboration to deliver the desired results. Getting the overview of the ecosystem for your environment is a precursor to planning any specific initiatives. 

It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle; you need to see the full picture before you can begin to complete the puzzle. You need the map of where you are heading in order to organise the pieces.

An innovation ecosystem comprises:

  • research – from universities, research centres, business
  • education – to create problem-solving high-value employees
  • intellectual property (IP) policy and law – for IP creators and exploiters
  • commercialisation support – through technology transfer
  • start-up support – via incubation, seed fund, business development
  • entrepreneur development – via education and training
  • regulatory environment – to make it easy to start, grow and sell businesses
  • appropriate incentives – to encourage idea generation and innovation

And these are just the highlights. Each area has several levels of detail in terms of strategy, resourcing and implementation. But, as you can see, if you don’t start with the big picture, it will be much harder to bring these disparate entities together as a coherent economic model.

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