Overview of New Business Trends, or Ecosystems of the Labor Market

Original author: LYDIA DISHMAN
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When you hear the word “ecosystem”, something from the plant world probably comes to mind. But a Business Trends report recently released by Deloitte Consulting found that ecosystems are an appropriate metaphor for the modern labor market , where everything must evolve in order to remain operational within the ecosystem.

The 108-page report is entitled Business Ecosystems Are Coming of Age. It states: everything that previously worked for organizations and leaders : rules, best practices, business models, mental attitudes - is shifting.

The concept of business ecosystems is not new. In 1993, business strategist James Moore transferred this idea from botany to business.
It is easy to see why a metaphor is appropriate. After digitizing every bit of data and getting rid of paper media, the global business landscape has become a network with close internal connections. As stated in the report:
“Ecosystems are dynamic and co-developing communities, consisting of diverse entities that create and receive new content in the process of both interaction and competition.”

The essence of the ecosystem is transformation. The Deloitte report noted: ecosystems are hardy and durable, but they are characterized by constant internal changes. While the media, software, trade, etc., are moving in the direction of more and more distinct individualization of products, other systems, for example, technological infrastructure, absorb small players and create large companies that offer others resources, information and platforms. According to the report, there is an ecosystem for each type of business: from small to international.

Disappearing boundaries, opportunities and challenges

Borders between sectors are erased. Buyers are becoming active participants. Platforms support new products and services. Access to communication with intellectuals and more resources accelerates learning and innovation. It is also expected that the Internet of physical facilities will expand in the next 5 years, and will include from 26 to 75 billion connected devices (not including smartphones and tablets). The disappearance of borders and the expansion of opportunities is good news.

But opportunities without strategic management are not real prospects at all . Leaders need to define a new range of tasks aimed at the effort of ecosystems. The main directions:

Information Security and Data

One of the largest ecosystems is the Internet. It contains a huge amount of information that needs to be protected. Therefore, maintaining an open and reliable global system is a massive undertaking. The number of recorded cyber attacks increased by almost 50%, and in 2014 amounted to about 120,000 per day (!).

The actions of hackers destroy public confidence, and the dependence of companies on data is increasing. This puts leaders in a difficult position, perceiving the information created together with customers as valuable assets.


Since most of the tasks performed by novices and low-skilled workers are automated, the traditional staff structure is transformed from a pyramid to an hourglass based on highly specialized employees.

Intuitreport estimates that by 2020, more than 60 million Americans will become temporary workers. Against the background of the transition from permanent employment to the contract system, 87% of the leaders of the world's leading recruitment agencies have already changed their talent search strategy to the parallel selection of temporary workers and experienced employees (or plan to do so). This implies the assignment of temporary work through freelance platforms (Odesk). Product marketing and improvement takes place on creative crowdsourcing resources (Tongal or Quirky). Preparation for passing international tests is carried out in online tutor search services ( TESTutor ).


As the staff is now recruited online, success strategies now depend on both collaboration and competition. The review reveals that it is not necessary to possess basic abilities or directly control them, more often it is required to create new business models and increase the efficiency of actions. Accordingly, emphasis will be placed on establishing external relationships, as well as on large data sets and analytics.

More Opportunities - More Potential Solutions

Thanks to the development of technology, today the opportunities for establishing a connection between specialists and other employees are wider than ever. Such an expert group, in turn, sets international business ecosystems with tasks related to resolving complex problems, for example, the spread of diseases or the depletion of resources.

The report refers these issues to “unpleasant prospects.” It is clear that the search for a way out of such situations requires the participation of a large number of people.

How to get all the players to sit at the table and work on the overall result? The Deloitte report assumes the existence of organizers who "manage everything" and the creation of the space necessary for the concerted action of everyone else. For example, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) boosted immunization in the poorest countries in the world, combining developing countries' demand for vaccines and stable long-term funding.

The report also notes: there should not be one best solution coming from all these different groups brought together. Sometimes a mass approach with creating a complete list of potential exits is the only way to achieve the goal .
There are other ways for leaders to develop that will increase their effectiveness within ecosystems.

Leaders are more interested in social influence.

Managers need to go beyond their sector and keep in mind a complete picture of problems and solutions. In this regard, a new kind of leader appears. Deloitte discovered: the best business school graduates who used to get jobs in high-paying areas like finance or consulting right after graduation are now crowded out by “tough, determined people who are expected to combine business acumen and social influence.”

Leading universities offer more courses in social entrepreneurship, investing in the social sphere and social enterprise management, and social innovation creates a combined personnel potential that works freely in business and social fields.

The report notes:
“Leaders in the coming decades will become“ triathletes ”capable of managing staff, interacting and influencing results in all areas, and, using the term management guru, Peter Senge,“ system leaders ”who can accelerate the change of structures over which they have no formal control. "

Leadership Self-Control

Advanced technologies and business models not only create new ecosystems, but also test the limitations set by the existing regulatory framework (hi Lyft and Uber). Instead of relying on traditional regulation, promising ecosystem business leaders find it necessary to include self-control. The 2014 Deloitte Reputation Risk Survey found that 87% of executives surveyed considered the risk of losing their business reputation more important or significantly more important than other strategic risks they face.

“In ecosystems, the interdependence of subjects and the fact that any weak link threatens the success of the whole are sharper”
- noted in the report. An example of this is the openness and availability of tools that control reputation in eBay services. Social media also acts as a system that keeps corporate behavior in check, as any violation can spread like a virus in minutes.

Leaders as landmark makers

The best managers approve projects and understand their value for both the creator and the participants. The most easily customizable platforms benefit thousands if not millions of independent users who benefit from specialization and flexibility. The ability of participants to focus on the actions that they do best, and providing the other aspects to others, like Amazon’s commercial platform, is of tremendous value to everyone.

Within the smaller groups that have developed on the project, deep, trust-based relationships can be created that will also help to establish links with wider structures.

A competent leader will understand: the greatest opportunity on the platform is to find guidelines that will allow you to get most of the values ​​created there. Finding such points is like understanding where relationships begin to concentrate. Tracking these landmarks will make it possible to notice signals that predict future trends and allow leaders to be proactive. The report states:
"When you are in the center of the stream, a slight adroit action can set large objects in motion."

PS. We recommend another article on the topic - Secrets of creating a team of leaders .

The author of the translation is Vyacheslav Davidenko, founder of MBA Consult .

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