One of the most positive outgrowths of a societal shift to the Internet economy (aka the Digital Economy) has been explosive growth for ecosystems of all varieties. “Ecosystem” can be defined as a group of individuals or entities coming together driven by a shared interest. The hidden power of these ecosystems has been immensely exploited by platforms like Facebook, which has now morphed into a supporter of hundreds of ecosystems themselves, termed there as Facebook Communities.
There are many powerful characteristics of ecosystems that are of huge importance to addressing sustainability barriers that we discussed in a previous blog. A few noteworthy ones:
- Elimination of geographical barriers to bring together impact-minded doers, thought-leaders, solvers, and innovators – and do that at zero cost and in real-time
- Diversity of talent, unique viewpoints rooted in and closer to problem-domains, associated innovative ideas to address the same problems
- Shared drive and commitment
- Leverage of spread across time-zones and boundaries into an advantage – faster problem-solving iterations since it creates almost non-stop work opportunity for the combined group
The biggest power ecosystems represent is not just ability to share stories and experiences around common topics, rather the aggregated bandwidth capacity when we add-up those highly distributed fractional time-slices each individual member is able to lend. Because of the sheer large numbers (in millions) this combined bandwidth, if exploited properly, could be the difference maker in overcoming the ‘last-mile resourcing’ barrier we discussed in another blog. As an illustrative math example: just 5-hours/week by one-million members of an ecosystem community would equate to 125,000 FTEs or equivalent to 10,000 Social Enterprises (with average size of 25 member teams)!! One million may sound like a lot, but it is not when one realizes that in the United States alone there are 70m+ millennials, and more than 80% of those have serious interest in sustainability. Imagine the numbers when we add up other two demographics of working professionals and early-retirees.
These ecosystems (when managed and leveraged properly) can become powerful innovation engines, drivers of behavior-change by otherwise change-resistant and only-profit driven corporations and even governments. InnoCentive, Maker Community, Engineers for Change are just a few of the dozens of large vibrant communities out there already!
Sustainability relevant ecosystems come in various flavors – ecosystems of contributors, of entrepreneurial talent, of impact investors, and ecosystems of on-the-ground entities. All four of these are critical cogs for the world to succeed in changing the inflection point in the battle for sustainability (for more see the other blog “Is the inflection point visible for a sustainable world?”). The good news is that there are variety of mission-driven entities that have invested in building these ecosystems for over a decade now. CARBON is fully focused to be the connecting bridge and on harnessing their full potential – not just as a wishful thinking but through creating the appropriate underlying shared infrastructure and win-win business models. Our partnerships with Africa Leadership Group, CARE.org, MCW Global, NetImpact, and Mandela Washington Foundation are examples of this strategy in full motion. Several more of these relationships are on the horizon. CARBON’s business model is all about amplification and acceleration of investments and efforts of all existing sustainability entities. Rather than duplicating and overlapping ecosystems, we expect dozens of these ecosystem relationships to be the pathway to achieve our vision of hundreds of CARBON-Copies of hundreds of proven sustainability solutions in the shortest time possible.
We invite all of successful ecosystem networks to create a sustainable world together with CARBON in near future and not 2-3 lifetimes later!