The most daunting problems that societies face today, including supply chain disruptions, are systemic, and thus can’t be addressed by any one organization acting alone. The biggest opportunities for B2Bs are similar: exploiting them requires understanding ecosystems for products and services; and it requires figuring out how company assets can be combined and leveraged with the assets of others.
The bigger the problem or opportunity, the more likely you’ll have to involve multiple partners across your value chain to solve or make the most of them. In order to maximize the return on your existing investments, it’s essential to look beyond the direct relationships your company already has to better understand the wider ecosystem and to create productive new networks.
One example is VAKT, a blockchain-enabled platform, formed in 2018 by a group of oil majors, traders, and trade finance providers who came together as a consortium to streamline the error-prone experience of trading. They worked together to solve this ecosystem problem, enabled by the latest developments in technology, and transformed the way energy is traded.
In order to tackle these large-scale complex challenges, it’s important to follow a structured but adaptable approach that allows for progress to be tracked but flexible enough to capitalize on what is discovered during the process. The process should aim to identify the value to be gained for each party by participating in solving the challenge.
It’s important to find answers to the following questions: Who else could you interact with to create value? Who else could you provide value to, with the investment that you’ve already made? Could you combine your assets in a different arrangement to extract more and greater value?
And there will always be a need to find a balance between speed and impact, to extract value in a timely manner. It’s essential not to lose initial momentum, while still iteratively progressing towards a solution.