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Recognizing the ecosystem phase-change: a guide to four types

Haydn Shaughnessy (Research Fellow at the Center for Business Transformation, University of California at Irvine)

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 14 January 2014




This article introduces the concept of a industry phase change. Phase-changes are historical transitions, ones that create a new industry and consumer ecosystem. They are not merely disruptive technologies.


A phase-change is marked by a complex transformation in human behavior produced by a new way to satisfy consumption needs. The Kodak case is described.


A current phase-change sweeping many business sectors is driven by the growing search for competitive advantage through connected ecosystems of stakeholders that co-create value – customers, innovators, partners and communities.

Practical implications

Co-creative ecosystems are a phase-change that requires a new set of executive and management skills, a different culture, a new approach to information, as well as new forms of leadership.


Explains the success factors of the four major types of modern ecosystems: scale ecosystems; creative commons/open source ecosystems; customer ecosystems; and systemic ecosystems. Shows how Kodak was disrupted by its lack of understanding of ecosystems management.



Shaughnessy, H. (2014), "Recognizing the ecosystem phase-change: a guide to four types", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 17-23.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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