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By: Andrés Guzmán Velgis , Partnership and Selection Manager at Wadhwani Foundation LATAM.
We have heard a lot about the great entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems throughout the world and how they have achieved this impressive economic development based on technology and innovation, some of the most notorious cases are Medellín, Tel Aviv, Singapore or the great Silicon Valley, among others, their success has been due to a number of factors and my objective is not to analyze them, but to make it clear that these successful cases have been systematic and above all regional.
It is important to recognize and understand that a recipe does not exist and will not exist, each region will have to define its model of public innovation system, it is possible to define it through a series of hypotheses, which when validated can be translated into a Minimum Viable Ecosystem, which it will have to be developed incrementally and iteratively by ecosystem actors.
How to convert a series of linked institutions into an ecosystem?
At some point we have all seen or played soccer, in it all the players of the team are guided by results, in this case goals, scoring or avoiding a goal provides benefits for all, this generates that they work as a team, since the end It is common and everyone benefits from that, of course there will be more talented players than others, but in the end the triumphs belong to everyone, the same happens in innovation ecosystems, for them to work they have to pursue common results or “goals” , working as a team to achieve clear objectives that translate into regional innovation successes, but what happens when the results sought are much more complex than simple goals?
What is a Least Viable Agile Ecosystem (LEA)?
Let’s start by defining what is an innovation ecosystem? According to Ruta N , an innovation ecosystem is an “environment that is built in a territory to promote economic development, making the development of innovation projects between companies, universities, etc., more efficient. entrepreneurs, investors, government and other stakeholders. “
The term Minimum Viable Ecosystem was first mentioned in the book The Wide Lens , by Dr. Ron Adner, a Minimum Viable Ecosystem (VME) focuses on the development of the business ecosystem, which is related to strategy and development of a Minimum Viable Product of a new product or service, then an EMV is an environment that facilitates the development and fit of a Minimum Viable Product within an environment.
We have already defined two of the three major components of a Minimum Viable Agile Ecosystem, a fundamental part for the design, execution and development of an EAMV is agility , this fundamental element allows that once the problem-solution fit of our ecosystem and through user stories we can develop an EAMV in an iterative and incremental way.
In summary, a Minimum Viable Agile Ecosystem (EAMV) is a systematized environment with the fundamental characteristics to take advantage of regional qualities, its development is iterative and incremental and it is oriented to institutional and ecosystem results, its main objective is to make the development of projects more efficient. of innovation that trigger economic development.
What steps can I take to implement an EAMV?
My professional experience has allowed me to collaborate with actors of all types, I have had the opportunity to know first-hand the perspectives of innovation in large corporations, MSMEs, own ventures, public sector, universities and within an international NGO, this experience me It allows us to understand a large part of the ecosystem and above all to know what the motivations of each sector are and how to be able to systematize innovation actors, with this objective I have created the Eight steps to develop a Minimum Viable Agile Ecosystem :
1. Start local
It is essential to start from the local and understand that ecosystems only work when they are effectively visualized as complex systems, where various components with different capacities, characteristics and, above all, needs coexist.
Starting from this fundamental fact, it is of vital importance to add all the local actors of the ecosystem, including the individuals who could act as beneficiaries of these economic development strategies, build a list of actors that come to mind. , but above all, motivate them to invite more actors to join the project.
Do not forget that within each actor there are authorities, however, the highest authority is not always the one who is highly motivated, it is important to detect early adopters and make sure to add them to the project.
2. Clearly identify the problems and competitive advantages of the region
Once we add the majority of the key players in the ecosystem, we talk with them and they have understood the reason why this project is being developed, the next step is to clearly identify the problems in your region and the competitive advantage with which account, you can implement brainstorming sessions with the actors to have different opinions and perspectives, this exercise will allow you to formulate problem hypotheses, which you must directly validate through interviews with the individuals that coexist within the ecosystem, invite the actors to Conduct problem interviews, once you have completed this process, get together and discuss the results.
Do not forget that the actors also have points of view, needs and problems to take into account, after all an innovation ecosystem has characteristics similar to a multi-sided business model where value is generated and delivered to different beneficiaries.
3. Establishes the key indicators and objectives of the ecosystem
The ecosystem must be guided by results, it is vital to establish together with the actors the indicators that will be measured and the expected results, you can be more ambitious than normal in defining these objectives, do not be tempted to set vain objectives that do not provide real economic value, these are some examples of key indicators for innovation ecosystems:
- Jobs generated.
- Increase in income.
- Companies created.
- Sum of capital investments.
- Patents generated.
- Increase in average salary.
- Foreign investment generated.
4. Identify and align the indicators and objectives of each institution with those of the ecosystem
Once the tangible objectives of the ecosystem have been defined, an alignment should be generated with the indicators of each actor, it is important to consider that many may not have them so clear, this process may take a little longer than expected, but like my previous football analogy If the team is not looking to score goals, it will never win the game, invest the time necessary to define them correctly, the indicators of each actor must pursue their objectives and be aligned with those of the ecosystem, after all this is a system and yes a failed component can lead to a breakdown.
5. Identify the value proposition of the region where the EAMV will be implemented
Thanks to all the validated learning about the characteristics and problems of your ecosystem, you will be able to determine together with the actors the value proposition of your ecosystem, you can use the different tools that you already know to define it.
Once you have defined your value proposition and the solutions that together will offer to the beneficiary individuals of your ecosystem, it is time to validate what they really want, formulate your solution hypotheses that will allow you to know with less uncertainty if it really is. proposal generates the exchange of value within the ecosystem.
6. Define a Minimum Viable Product (PMV) for the individuals of the ecosystem
Together with the actors, they design the PMV that they will be developing together. To correctly define and plan your PMV, follow these steps:
- Prioritize the solution features and find the vital ones.
- Define the final characteristics.
- Convert these features into user stories.
- Define and plan the development sprints (Don’t forget that each development must be testable).
- Run the first sprint .
- Validate and iterate the solution until the problem-solution fit is found.
- Continue with the next sprints .
7. Create a system to report, measure and analyze the indicators freely accessible to all
A clear and simple system of indicators will allow all the actors to visualize the achievements in a simple way, these will be understood as their own achievements and as the analogy of football, everyone will understand that they are scoring goals as a team.
8. Evaluates and measures the fulfillment of the objectives on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis
Periodically, the fulfillment of the objectives should be measured, based on the key indicators that were defined, in addition to the constant feedback that you should be obtaining from both actors and individuals, the solution will have to be pivoted or iterated incrementally and permanently When you achieve results, it will always be good to “cluck the egg” who knows, maybe your region is the new innovation ecosystem that is a worldwide reference.