Ecosystem Optimization: Accelerate Growth and Category Leadership


The design-thinking and methodology around Category Design starts with a problem. A problem that hasn’t been fully explained or solved. It’s a problem that likely most audiences wouldn’t even realize they have. This problem-led deep dive then goes on to be described in a compelling Point of View. This POV also communicates the evolved, or entirely new Category that emerges due to this problem and solution.

A core tenet and step for Category Design then emerges: a Category cannot exist around a singular company. There is a much broader Ecosystem that is connected to not only this problem / solution, but to the Category as well.

This design-thinking thus evolves and goes to the next step of describing and visualizing this unique new tribe and Ecosystem. What companies / technologies / API’s / services / consumers / channel partners / government agencies / NGO’s / analysts / media (and the list can go on) are part of this Ecosystem?

How can we visualize this Ecosystem? What shape / diagram / flow / layers….. does it have? Is it a “Symbiotic” business model and system, with your technology platform as the orchestrator, and driving value creation for participants? SAP or Laiye would be examples of this.

Or is it a “Marketplace” with the consumer / customer at the center, and you as the coordinating brand, like Amazon or hiPages?

A key litmus test is how does this visualization communicate the POV around the problem, Category and value creation?

Invariably (and excitingly) this will be a completely new and unique visualization. (Our experience and client work has seen many different visualizations of Ecosystems, and it is always a really cool outcome and visual!).

Don’t Just Find Your Tribe, Build It.

This is a major result and “asset” from the Category Design process: not only a visualization of the Ecosystem, but a catalyzation of strategy around it.

Consistently we see clients going through this step of the design-thinking and having a set of epiphanies on the not only the components in the Ecosystem, but key targets and players who have been overlooked up to this point.

The Ecosystem map drives not only a heightened degree of awareness of the entirety as well as individual members of the Ecosystem but also catalyzes questions around:


Who will be assigned to “own” the different slices and relationships of the Ecosystem? What resourcing needs or challenges need to be solved?

A key “ah-ha” here is that each, key relationship in the Ecosystem will not progress unless a “throat to choke” is assigned to that relationship.

From this point, accountability then becomes much clearer on reporting and updating on the relationship(s) and directionally whether are they improving or deteriorating (and asking “why?”).

Tracking and Measurement.

How will we track and measure our overall engagement and impact across the Ecosystem’s constituents? Where are we progressing? Or perhaps losing / gaining against competitors and their relationship-building efforts?

At a simplistic, and getting started phase, Tracking and Measurement can start with an excel or other document aligned to the Ecosystem visualization and key constituents within it.


To up-level and optimize your efforts the Out-Position team also recommends that you look at the Ecosystem Tracker and Optimization (eTAO) approach. This unique visualization, segmentation, and tracking process drives clearer decisions around focus, resources and strategy. It integrates with CRM, social listening, and other data sources to ensure your eTAO capability is real-time and moves you and your team from reactive to changes in your ecosystem partners, to a proactive capability.

This capability drills down also into key segments of your Ecosystem. For example, Analysts, Government, NGO’s, Channel Partners, or CSR / Social Purpose entities.

Taking technology analysts as an example, the eTAO approach graphs relevant analysts (say across Gartner, Forrester, IDC, Omdia, Everest etc.) and gives a clear visualization into strategy around “who really matters?”, and “where / who should we concentrate our investments in?”. It shows the critical analysts in the Ecosystem; and the ones who have the potential to be up-leveled into “critical”; as well as the “monitor only” ones. This drives clarity of strategy and alignment on how resources (time, people, budget) are being allocated.

Ecosystem Optimization is your Killer Strategy Enhancement

Your Ecosystem strategy and optimization is about thinking and playing bigger. It enables you to punch heavier than just as one company. It tells a story and shows the audience how they and their organization are part of the Category Ecosystem and are part of solving the problem at its heart. It shows them that they can be part of something bigger. It builds a tribe. It builds a movement!

“We Need You to Lead Us”

Seth Godin, on why we want to be part of a tribe, and of something bigger…

Lead, don’t follow, and demonstrate your clarity of strategy, POV, and the Category’s Ecosystem: you will in turn be rewarded with growth and leadership!


The Out-Position team has experience and a track-record that you can leverage and catalyse for your category strategy and design.

Contact us

We work alongside you for this design-thinking process, from the problem clarity and category defined, to a powerful point of view.