Ecosystems are amazing. Though, I don't mean the natural kind (I do like those!). Rather I mean the distributed, adaptive, open socio-technical systems of people, information, and technology. These ecosystems surround us everywhere.

We like ecosystems because they are complex. Much like their natural counterpart (e.g. a coral reef), they:

  • are leaderless, or at least not depending on one person, organisation or community.
  • are deeply connected and continuously evolving
  • are emergent, ceaselessly creative and an invitation to be inspired
  • are unique, non-linear, where fringe ideas can have a big impact (Butterfly effect)

And most importantly, with sufficient momentum ecosystems are self-perpetuating with an emergent purpose. They thrive on the energy people put in. Their reason for existence is not winning, the point is to continue playing and evolving.

If knowledge is the capacity to act, then tapping into an ecosystem of evolving knowledge can give us the confidence to move forward. More connected and rich ecosystems hold the potential to help people take action and live better lives. Navigating these ecosystems can be an exciting journey! That's why we love Ecosystems.

In this guide I explore ecosystems, their characteristics, and some thoughts on how to feed them. But first we need to talk about how to make sense of the world around us.