We are all familiar with ecosystems in the natural world
Well, the community or business ecosystems is similar to each part working to maximise its position and the opportunities available. Think for a moment about the human body as an ecosystem. It has a control system, organs to keep everything working well and arms and legs to do the work.
Take any part out, and the community does not work so well, causing the community to become dysfunctional. A regional community is no different. Your community is not just a community. It is a complicated and unique ecosystem with many disparate parts. Like rabbits, people can destroy a community ecosystem if for some reason the population grows too fast.
Small business and non-profit organisations help create the community ecosystems
Small businesses and non-profit organisations are moving beyond traditional ways of operating. They are changing their community ecosystems. Breaking it in such a way that it can take years for some people to understand what has happened to the community. The changes taking place are substantial because of globalisation and increasing competition from other communities. A community needs to be driven by entrepreneurs and information technology if it is to compete in the globalised world.
A business ecosystem is a network of businesses and non-profit organisations in a community. Added to this are suppliers, distributors, customers, competitors, government agencies, tourists and so on. The total ecosystem could be broken down into small ecosystems just as you find in the environment, all working to make up the entire ecosystem:
- Business ecosystem
- Social services ecosystem
- Marketing ecosystem
- Retail ecosystem
- Education ecosystem
- Research ecosystem
Both competition and cooperation involve the delivery of specific products and services. As a consequence, a community ecosystem will either rise or fall. Each organisation in the ‘ecosystem’ will be impacted. They will also be affecting each other, either way creating constantly evolving relationships. Each body must be flexible and adaptable to survive, as in a natural ecosystem.
The concerns relating to community ecosystems might include
- The community feels dead and is uninviting
- Businesses are closing with too many empty shops
- There is no innovation to keep the community vibrant
- New residents and businesses are needed to fill the gaps
- Opportunities and tourists are slipping through the cracks
- Local shopping is a thing of the past
- Quality local services are too hard to find
- Everyone is blaming something or someone else for the community’s situation
- Young people are deserting the community for better opportunities
- Problems are erupting because the population is growing faster than the infrastructure can cope.
By examining all the parts of the community ecosystem, as a result, these concerns can be addressed. Research the untapped potential by assembling a team and the additional resources needed by the community to revitalise it will be essential.
Some keys you might use for improving the community’s ecosystems
- Utilise entrepreneurs. Make use of entrepreneurs to develop the ecosystem. They will ‘join up the dots’, help to create an enhanced entrepreneurial environment and encourage action orientation.
- Look for local responsibility. The most significant resource is the local people. It is because they are there and external resources are not always available. They will take personal responsibility for their community. It is impossible to engage everyone, for one reason or another. However, those who accept personal responsibility will be enough to make things happen.
- Select the right fertiliser. In working up the right strategies and applying the right resources, unfortunately, there is too little time, and effort put in. Many communities are losing ground because of a lack of the suitable fertilisers. As with your garden, without using additional fertiliser, nothing flourishes.
- Investment should be in utilising the right fertilisers. It is one thing to talk about improving the community ecosystem. It is quite another to put hands in pockets and invest. Invest in the proper fertilisers to add to the community ecosystem so everything will grow sustainably.
By mapping the community’s ecosystems, new possibilities and opportunities to improve the whole community and its businesses will start to emerge.
“Cherish the natural world because you are part of it and you depend on it”. Sir David Attenborough
“Your community’s success begins and ends with people taking personal responsibility, for the community ecosystem along with the capacity to make the necessary changes”. Peter Sergeant