Companies also need to think broadly about ecosystem innovation and consider who else needs to innovate, or adopt an innovation, before the end customer can get the full benefits. For example, digital cinema initially failed because of the high cost of adoption by operators of movie theaters. When Hollywood producers subsidized theater owners' purchases of digital equipment, digital cinema became available to customers.
Yet another mindset shift is getting by with help from friends who may be competitors in other situations. The pharmaceutical industry provides myriad examples of competitors who form ecosystems to bring drugs to market sooner than one company could on its own.
This new world of business ecosystems--partnerships that require building trust, learning together and capturing value equitably, all in the interest of increasing customer benefits--will test the leadership skills of any executive.
Madeline Weiss is director of the Society for Information Management's Advanced Practices Council. June Drewry is a former CIO of Chubb and an adviser to the APC.