Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Economy Ecosystem

I recently listened to a McKinsey podcast that features Miklos talking about the “economy ecosystem“.  It put into words something that has been bugging me for a while now about articulating the true role technology plays within organizations of the future.  Let me unpack that with a little help from Miklós.

I’ve been in the agency technology business for over two decades now.  There has been a lot of change.  Today, as a chief technology officer I spend a lot of time in group therapy with Fortune 500 senior executives in the customer experience space.  The problem is simple to state, harder to solve.  

The Problem

Traditionally businesses tend to compete within sectors.  Health companies care for patients.  Finance companies manage wealth.  Entertainment businesses entertain. You get the picture.  And with over 80 different sectors, the swimlanes were clear and comforting for organizations to win market share and grow revenue.  

However, technology is breaking down these industry vaults making it easier for companies to move between swimlanes to offer consumers multi-sector services.  Amazon started with books and now has many service lines from finance, to films, to food, to computing just to name a few.  I love the way Miklós likened the multi-sector service approach to the rise of supermarkets; now commonplace and widely adopted. Time poor consumers love one stop marketplaces and prefer that over moving between multiple isolated shopping experiences. Can you remember the last time you shopped in several locations to get meats, medicines, fruit and veg, deli goods, alcohol, stationnery, and hardware in a single day? I used to do that growing up, however now I’m part of a loyalty program for a supermarket chain that owns a part me. I chose to major in the supermarket and minor is specialised brands for luxury items.

The Challenge 

The same thing is happening digitally for the ownership of the consumer on a larger scale.  Technology is the dam buster, breaking down the sector silos that both producers and consumers are no longer imprisoned by.  So the race is on to own (a piece of) the consumer and there is everything to play for.  

Organizations can go deep (within a sector) and broad (across sectors).  How deep or broad is an imprortant business decision?  We know how hard it is to create engaging customer journeys within a sector you already excel at with business experience and expertise. However, tomorrow’s winner are getting out of their sector comfort zones to compete broadly across entire, multi-industry customer journey economy ecosystem.

The Approach

This is not easy.  So if vertical customer journey design processes are complicated, horizontal multi-dimensional interconnected ones are highly complex.  Literally, orders of magnitude are harder.  Although not an intractable problem, good strategy is key here.  

So think big, start small to build your economy ecosystem.   Take on board Amazon’s leadership principles, be humble, and be intentional about your capabilities to win.  We have to move past passive know your customer (KYC) discussions to actively owning them by putting theory into practice. Do this with a healthy dose of valuing progress over perfection.  

Category: brand, technology

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Wunderman Thompson North America where we are passionate about customer experience platforms.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.