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The Innovation Process
Activity 3.4 D

Map all ecosystem adaptation requirements

This activity will help you capture how all your adaptations requirements mapped out so far relate to each other in order to identify any gaps and further adaptations required.

It is often difficult to capture all adaptation requirements, even if you have analysed the solution, your organisation, users and community members, your partners, and other key aspects of the local context. Therefore, it can be useful to try and capture how all these elements relate to each other, in order to identify any gaps.

Understanding ecosystems can be both complex and daunting. There are generally two ways that ecosystems are analysed. The more traditional way is to view them from an ‘actor-centric’ perspective, listing the actors in a predefined system, e,. within a humanitarian context, as we do with the Humanitarian Parameters Box tool.

However, another way to assess ecosystems is by considering them as ‘configurations of activity defined by a value proposition’ (Adner, 2016). So, if your solution should be providing value for the problem holder (e.g. potable water), in order to deliver and sustain that value, you need to consider the actors and actions that need to be in place. We suggest that you use a Value Network Analysis as a way of capturing a mutually exclusive, completely exhaustive (MECE) view of actors and actions that need to be in place within the local ecosystem.

Value Network Analysis

First use the guidance materials provided below to map the existing Value Network for addressing the problem you are targeting, before mapping the Value Network that you need for your preferred solution to work. Having done this, make a note of the adaptations that will be required by both the actors and in the actions within the ecosystem.

In order to fully develop a Value Network strategy, it is necessary to first map out the value exchanges across the network. This mapping method relies on only three simple elements (Allee, 2008):

  • Roles are real people or participants in the network who provide contributions and carry out functions. Participants have the power to initiate action, engage in interactions, add value, and make decisions. They can be individuals; small groups or teams; business units, whole organisations; collectives, such as business webs or industry groups; communities; or even nation states.
  • Transactions, or activities, originate with one participant and end with another. The arrow is a directional link that represents movement and denotes the direction of what passes between two roles. Solid lines are formal contract exchanges around product and revenue, while the dashed lines depict the intangible flows of market information and benefits.
  • Deliverables are the actual ‘things’ that move from one role to another. A deliverable can be physical (eg, a document or a table) or it can be non-physical (eg, a message or request delivered verbally). It can also be a specific type of knowledge, expertise, advice, or information about something, or a favour or benefit that is bestowed upon the recipient.

By mapping these, you can assess where there might need to be adaptations to the ecosystem to:

  1. Roles: Are there new participants that need to be added to the network? Do any existing participants need to change their roles?
  2. Transactions: Are there any activities within the ecosystem that will need to change? Will some relationships need to stop, begin or change?
  3. Deliverables: What changes are there to the deliverables?