What a feeling!

The book is finally available from print. After weeks of waiting, it felt great to hold the book in our hands. For a moment, we stopped planning the future and focused on the present: And celebrated the achievement with Ulla in the place where all great authors and artists are known to gather: Hotel Kämp Brasserie in the center of Helsinki.

Now when the book is available, we hope that many of you buy it. It is available from the Alma Talent webshop, and if they deliver on their promise, the book will be in your hands in 1-2 days. If you want to “peek inside” before buying, you’ll find the foreword and first chapters here.

We also had an opportunity to discuss the topic with other authors and the press this week. Looking into this fall’s business book menu, there are many that appear interesting. Especially Mikko Leskelä’s Business Anthropologist (in Finnish), that looks into strategic decision considering the human side of things. Discussing with Mikko, it seems that we are both addressing the same topic: Business is not only rational, emotions are equally important!

Talking about emotions – this week it has been sheer happiness. In today’s in tangible world, a physical book feels great. And it is great to see, that the book looks just like we visioned it. The Ecosystem Handbook is easy to approach, colourful – a workbook that invites the reader to start reading. Please do!


Learning the art of creating impact

“A watched pot never boils” is a proverb that describes the fact that time seems to slow down when eagerly waiting something to happen. The proverb is very well fitted to describe our feelings this week. We are really looking forward to the book to come out of print. Next week it finally does!

Make no mistake, we are not only waiting but very focused on the next steps. The book is a comprehensive information package for different audiences. It is targeted to ecosystem leaders working in large national and global corporations, SME executives and start-uppers that actively catalyst and collaborate with them, as well as leaders in public organizations who may take very different roles. Not an easy task. Therefore, during the past weeks, we have been creating content for the first training sessions around the topic. The content starts to take shape and we are eager to share the first outcomes.

Ecosystems: Theory & Practice

Ecosystem discussions are often very conceptual. Considering the different partners and stakeholders the challenges related to understanding one’s own role and potential for innovation and development. The “Ecosystems: Theory & Practice” is a great way to get an overview of the theory and enhance it with practical case studies.

The Ecosystems: Theory & Practice is a short overview of the concepts and selected cases targeted for anyone working in an ecosystem.

It was great to get an opportunity to test the content and training concept with a group of executives studying networked organizations in the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. Even though the session was run remotely, the interaction with the group felt good, and based on the feedback, the feeling is mutual.

“The lecture on Saturday morning was spot on and the content was great in all measures! Spontaneous feedback from the program participants was excellent. They particularly liked the clear language and visuals. And, so did I. Well done! The lecture was also a really good fit with the rest of the course content. I am really looking forward to receiving my copy of the Ecosystem Handbook”

Dr. Sanna Nieminen, Principal Lecturer, JAMK

Ecosystem Fundamentals

In addition to the Ecosystems: Theory & Practice, there is a “heavier” information package available for those who want more details. Ecosystem Fundamentals does that in an engaging way.

“Ecosystem Fundamentals” is a thorough information package paving the way to the art of creating impact.

Based on the initial feedback, the content was well received and served as a basis for further development from an ecosystem orchestrator’s point of view. We are looking forward to receiving further feedback and will share it with you as soon as we’ll receive it.

Call for action: Learn the art of creating impact

Like all authors we are really looking forward to the interaction with the audience, the readers and those who work in the ecosystem context. Furthermore, we are eager to discuss with anyone working as an ecosystem leader, orchestrator or partner – to hear about your challenges and find insights and best practices applicable to your industry, your business situation and challenges.

Next week marks a major milestone when the book comes out of print. And while we hope that as many of you will buy it, we are looking forward to receiving feedback and discussing the above themes together with you.

Therefore, we call you to act: If you are interested in learning the art of creating impact in ecosystems or just want to know more about the topic, please contact me soonest!


Network or Ecosystem?

It’s been good two weeks since our “Discussion Starter Event” took place. After the event, we have received lots of comments and supportive messages – and some questions as well. Thank you for those! It is great to see that the topic is catalyzing thoughts in all fronts – academia, business and consultants alike.

One of the first questions that many of you have asked is: “What is the difference between a networked organization and an ecosystem?” While the answer is a subject to debate, the simple answer relates to the nature of the ecosystem. Networks, for example supply or distribution networks, are based on mutually binding contractual frameworks. Ecosystems on the other hand are driven by mutual purpose and include development actions that cannot be 100% defined in the beginning.

Picture: An attempt to illustrate the difference between networks and ecosystems

Networks: Contract based

The networked economy is based on supply and demand, and to simplify the nature of different networks, we decided to classify them as the following:

  • Supply Networks consist of “downstream” activities of a key organization, or network between a company and its suppliers to produce and distribute a specific product to the final buyer
  • Distribution Networks consist of “upstream” activities or in other words it is a chain of businesses or intermediaries through which a good or service passes until it reaches the final buyer or the end consumer
  • Subcontracting Networks vary – but typically they related to a well-defined set of activities driven by a key function or functions, the practice of assigning, or outsourcing, part of the obligations and tasks under a contract to another party

The common nominator for the different networks is that they are legally well-defined. Supply Networks are bound with quality, quantity and time -related performance indicators that are often strategic in nature. Distribution Networks include similar performance indicators and often some kind of joint go-to-market initiatives. Subcontracting Networks on the other hand have specific targets related to the scope of services included. While networked organizations are often strategic in nature, they are different from ecosystems.

Ecosystems: Purpose driven

Sometimes ecosystems are seen as loose networks of different types of organizations. There is time and place for discussion, and oftentimes discussion is much needed to discover problems and identify the key organizations and people needed to solve them. Purpose and commitment to drive growth through joint development activities is what defines an ecosystem. From the organizational point of view, ecosystems are driven by open innovation principles and share much looser legal frameworks. We identified three different “architypes” of ecosystems:

  • Business Ecosystems consist of different organizations involved in developing a solution to a defined customer need/scope or in other words a network of organizations—including suppliers, distributors, customers, competitors, government agencies, and so on—involved in the delivery of a specific product or service through both competition and cooperation.
  • Innovation Ecosystems includes universities, government, corporations, startup accelerators, venture capitalists, private investors, foundations, entrepreneurs, mentors, and the media. Each plays a significant role in creating value in the larger ecosystem by transforming new ideas into reality through access and financial investment
  • Knowledge Ecosystems are similar to innovation ecosystems, but its’ main interest and outcome is in the creation of new knowledge through joint research work, collaboration, or the development of knowledge base.

The main difference between different types of ecosystems is time. As business ecosystems are focused on an unsolved customer problem that a single organization cannot solve alone, innovation ecosystems typically work on broader conceptual problems or grand challenges with a clear solution focus. Knowledge Ecosystems on the other hand are working on solving problems from more conceptual point of view, and often transforming to innovation or business ecosystems over time.

To Ecosystem or not to Ecosystem?

Collaboration in ecosystems in is a powerful way to speed up growth and recovery from crisis. Whether it is new business development, innovation or generation of new knowledge – sharing ideas is typically a powerful way to test and validate one’s thinking. Impact, either on business or in the broader socio-economic sense is the key driver for collaboration. We believe that it can be improved by aligning organizations and people both rationally and emotionally.

So, today’s question is not so much about to ecosystem or not to ecosystem, but rather how to do it. That’s the challenge that motivated us to write the Ecosystem Handbook. It provides a a fresh view on the topic and new tools for anyone collaborating in ecosystems.


What’s Next?

In every project there comes a time when you get to the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). In our case that moment was last week. We launched the book and the website, which is planned to be a platform of ecosystem discussion. It feels great!

We have been overwhelmed about the excited and supportive comments that we have received. And are truly grateful for those. At the same time, we are keen to move forward and focus on what’s coming. So here’s a sneak peek to what’s coming next.

The Book

The book looks just great. It is not a “typical business book” but rather colorful and friendly – inviting the reader to spend time with it. Special thanks to Juhamatti Murtomäki and Oona Sundell from N2 who spent countless hours refining the references and getting the colors just right. We hope that you’ll enjoy it too!

Having spent the past months with the layouts, and seeing the whole book ready, I am super-excited. I simply cannot wait to get it in my hands. Discussing with Ulla, Laura and Markku, they are as eager to see and feel it as I am. And discussing with many of you who participated in the event or have seen our emotional postings on Social Media, you are too. The expectations are high. We hope that we’ll meet them!

Latest estimate: October 12 2020 it is! If you have not ordered it yet, please do it here!

Case Studies

There are four case studies in the book: Indian electric transportation, Tampere Kansi and Arena (Uros Live), social and healthcare -case and smart city platform (LUXTURRIM5G).

The four cases were selected to illustrate the ecosystem journey starting from purpose, and then moving through the emerging, evolving, adapting and expanding phases – and generating impact every step of the way. The “ecosystem journey” framework serves as a good basis to analyze how the ecosystems change along the way.

As the world is changing fast, and further ecosystems are being built, it is of course of interest to us to analyze and describe both ongoing and starting ecosystems. As case studies are a great way to learn, we are planning to make this site a platform for sharing. More about that in the coming weeks!

Next cases in the pipeline: Stay tuned for case studies about Compensate and how their ecosystem is evolving. Also, a case about Innovation Home is in the pipeline. If you would like us to help describe your ecosystem, please get in touch with us soonest!


“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is a saying adopted from Abraham Maslow’s The Psychology of Science. As we live in a society where we have used to engineer our way in and out of many situations. Hence, the bad news, ecosystems are not nails. Hence it might not be a good idea to spend time to design a hammer.

In June, when the book was well underway, I did a quick calling round with a group of people to hear what in their opinion was the biggest challenge related to ecosystem. Their comments (illustrated below) linked to people, collaboration and leadership.

That’s why, we wrote the Ecosystem Handbook as a tool understanding self and others. So, while it comes with canvases that support the journey, the tools provided are not the key to success. People are.

From ideas to innovations and ecosystems

World is filled with ideas, but they become innovations only when someone starts defining, refining and incubating them. We firmly believe that in the area of innovations, the old saying “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary” is very true.

The same applies for ecosystems as well: Building successful business and innovation ecosystems is not easy. But it is doable, when thinking big and small at the same time – and having key organizations and key people working on something tangible – the key project!


It is out!

Yesterday was a big day! When we arrived in Innovation Home in Otaniemi, the excitement was in the air. There were number of last minute fixes to seating, outfits, slides and so on. The typical last-minute hassles.

When the panelists and guests started arriving, it was time to let go and trust that everything will go well. And it did! Most of the 500 people signed up to the online event were able to log in. For those that had technical difficulties we are sorry, and hope that you’ll watch the event now. And even if you were there (I was) it is worth watching again!

Launching a book, which is not yet out of print is a deliberate move to start the discussion. And what a discussion starter it was:

  • Host: Alex Nieminen (N2) has a wonderful ability to create warm and friendly atmosphere. It also shows in the stream!
  • Keynote: Dr. Mikko Kosonen (Chairman of Board, Aalto University) has been our proof reader and sparring partner during the writing process. His keynote described the challenges that the Ecosystem Handbook responds to and positions the book as an essential tool for anyone working in ecosystems.
  • Panelists: Mika Sulin (Chairman of Board, Uros Live Arena), Tommi Uitto (President, Mobile Networks, Nokia), Tero Ojanperä (Chairman of Board,, Piia-Noora Kauppi (CEO, Finance Finland) and Taina Susiluoto (Director, EK) are all in the drivers’ seat in multiple ecosystems. They know what they are talking about! They are well-versed seasoned executives. The discussion was and is worth listening!
  • Authors: We the “team” shared some of our thoughts about the writing process and insights about the book. But above all, we wanted to thank all the people that influenced the content, read the manuscript during the writing process. While the content is more practical than academic, there are number of people that influenced the content. Professor Satu Teerikangas (University of Turku), Rauno Jokelainen (CTO, Uros), Dr. Eeva Ketola (Esperi Care) and many others provided input to the case studies and ensured us that we focused on the essential!
  • Audience: Due to the COVID-19 we had a handful of guests in the location. Thank you all for coming and making our day. The atmosphere was warm and it felt like we all shared the excitement and positive energy. And that is something that we will need during the coming months!
  • Partners: Like any expanding ecosystem we are thrilled to have wonderful partners. Innovation Home‘s founders Petra and Katja hosted us warmly. Nousussa took care of the streaming. Medanta provided the masks. Together they made the event!

Thank you all for being with yesterday! It means a lot that you joined us to celebrate the completion of a six-month sprint. Yet, this is just a beginning. Stay tuned for more – and order the book here if you have not done it yet!


Start with Why

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.

Simon Sinek

Like many great projects, the Ecosystem Handbook started with a strong WHY – desire to help organizations and people work together better. That was six months ago. And we still believe that the WHY as we defined it is valid. Ecosystems are about people. And people, no matter how hard we try, are not always rational. The emotional side is equally important.

Now that we are live with the discussion about the Ecosystem Handbook and the book is been printed as we speak, we would like to share some of the insights about the addittional WHYs behind it. Namely: Why do we think ecosystems are important? Why another leadership guide? Why an old-fashioned book? Why the digital platform? Why us?

Why do we think ecosystems are important?

In today’s rapidly changing world very few companies or people can make it alone. Collaboration in different forms is needed to meet customer needs, to solve grand challenges and simply keep up with the speed of change.

Ecosystem collaboration is a powerful way to multiply an organization’s capabilities. It is about becoming faster, stronger, more resilient and innovative. And by doing that creating value for all ecosystem partners and broader society and economy.

1st WHY: Ecosystem collaboration is here to stay. You cannot hide from it. So just do it!

Why another leadership guide?

The ecosystem impact can be measured in the investment in research development and innovation, value of the new solutions developed, the number of jobs created, and the capabilities developed. So rather than justifying why ecosystems are needed, we suggest focusing on the “art of leading and creating impact”.

There are myriad of leadership guides for creating, fine-tuning or taking your organization to the next level by shaping your organizations’ culture and leadership skills. Yet it is not enough. In ecosystems the challenge is multiplied by the number of partner organizations. Their culture is not a sum of the partner organizations’ cultures. It can be better. Or it can be worse. And it can be shaped and cultivated.

Ecosystem leadership is tough. Different organizations and people bring their capabilities to the table. It takes courage to see others strengths, acknowledge their skills and superpowers. The challenges relate to acceptance and trust. Micromanagers face challenges, and if egos get in the way the battles are inevitable. In the worst cases ecosystems become egosystems.

2nd WHY: There are challenges that typically rise along the ecosystem journey. The Ecostem Handbook provides practical tools for managing them. It is not just another leadership guide!

Why a book?

Why not for example a digital tool that would automate parts of ecosystem management? Oh well. Because ecosystems are all about people working together. And despite of the fact that we live in the era of digital tools and video and audio content flows, there is still something about a physical book.

The Ecosystem Handbook is particularly attractive in old-fashioned paper format. It is visual. It is something that you want to maybe skim through first. Then read bits and pieces. Mark your favorite chapters. Or at least that’s what we hope that you will do. In the era of online content, some books are simply better when read on paper. We hope that the Ecosystem Handbook is that kind of book.

There is a saying that you should not judge a book by the cover. But in this case, maybe you should?

The Ecosystem Handbook is a heavy-weight information package designed for a curious reader. The kind who wants to learn about self and others. The kind who does not take anything for granted or take the obvious route. The kind of reader who rises by lifting others. Are you that kind of a person?

3rd WHY: In an intangible world, simple solutions are tangible!

Why digital platform?

The Ecosystem Handbook is just a beginning. If you are reading this post, you have found your way to . We see it as a platform for sharing stories about ecosystems, about people and about impact.

Therefore, we recommend the following approach: Buy the book and sign up for a ride with us. During the next weeks, we will start unveiling valuable content for sharing best practices, key learnings from research and ecosystem journeys. And of course people behind the stories.

4th WHY: Our ecosystem journey is just beginning. We welcome you to join us!

Why us?

Most ecosystems start with key people with passion. And that’s what we all share. For us, open innovation is something that we have been dealing with in different contexts for a long time. Same goes for leadership. We are all experienced leaders who have been building and leading teams, organizations and ecosystems. We wrote the book to start discussion about a topic that is close to our hearts. To share what we know and to learn from others. As seasonal leaders we acknowledge the importance of rational decision making and related business planning processes. But at the end, we believe that people make the difference. When passionate people come together to solve problems that they find meaningful, they put their brains and hearts to work. That’s when the art starts.

5th WHY: Experience and passion to learn more!