The main purpose of this book is to analyse the extent to which the Internet can be considered to be an ecosystem in its own right and how high technology platform-based firms are changing the competitive landscape and challenging the relevance of the classical Newtonian approach to strategy that has been used for more than half a century.
Not only does the book explore new theories and concepts but it also introduces a hydrothermal vent (HTV) ecosystem model to provide a new perspective for the analysis of the ICT sector. The extent to which the classical approach to strategy is still fit for purpose is also critically analysed.
Chapter 1 begins with an analysis of the relevance of the Newtonian classical science paradigm and how it relates to the modern ICT sector. It provides an analysis of ‘strategy as a process’ and the traditional methods that are used to formulate strategy which are then compared to more modern theories. In Chapter 2, the actual strategic tools used in the rational classical approach are evaluated. This is referred to as ‘strategy as content’.
In Chapter 3, more modern theories are introduced and are underpinned with supporting examples from the ICT sector. This includes complexity science and chaos theory, the Gartner Hype Curve, strategy on the edge of chaos and poised strategies. These theories align much more closely with the ICT sector when compared to the dated theories explored in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the book.
Chapter 4 introduces ecosystem theories and platform models. These concepts provide a very ‘rich’ source of material for the analysis of modern ICT ecosystems and they integrate well with the HTV ecosystem model in
Chapter 5, where analogical comparisons are made between the biological ecosystem and the ICT sector. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a new perspective and a new model for analysing modern platform-based ecosystems as a complement to existing theories and concepts. This highlights the importance of data as a new factor of production and the role of innovation.
This is followed by a detailed analysis of the HTV model in Chapter 6 and how it can be applied as both a sense-making and a categorisation tool. The contribution made by the new HTV ecosystem model is also explained and how this provides a new perspective and paradigm. This contends that a new source of competitive advantage has now emerged which is based on data as a form of capital - data capital - and is now a key source of innovation that supersedes land, labour and financial capital as the main factors of production.
The chapter also concludes that the Internet should be viewed as a macro-innovation platform-ecosystem which is responsible for the development of multiple platforms and ecosystems along its mid-ocean ridge system which ignores industry/market and - in some cases - geographic boundaries.
Chapter 1 will now undertake a critical analysis of the relevance of the rational, classical approach to strategy in the ICT sector by exploring the ‘strategy process’.