In the past decade, we have witnessed an explosion of digital platforms due to the advent of cloud computing, smartphone adoption and widespread connectivity. However, these platforms have mainly operated in silos with little interoperability between them. Each competing to dominate the market and focusing on a narrow proposition. Now that many of these service platforms have consolidated, they are looking for ways to expand their business. One way is by integrating different platforms with the purpose of addressing the broader job-to-be-done. For example, what started out as mere ride-hailing will increasingly be about facilitating full trips from A to B, whether by car, e-scooter, bike or a combination of these (i.e. mobility-as-a-service).
Different countries have motivations, hopes, fears and optimism about the role of digital technology. Countries with high optimism and trust in (digital) technology are most likely to whole-heartedly adopt such mega-ecosystems in society and the economy, e.g. in the case of China’s WeChat.
Mega-ecosystems by definition integrate all the physical and real activities, spaces, interactions of people into one virtual ecosystem, blurring the boundaries between what is virtual and real/physical (e.g. is ordering a coffee still a ‘physical’ activity?).
Countries are building their own Stack from geopolitical interests, but also geo-economic interests. Companies that provide the platforms and mega-ecosystems at the service/application are likely to reap huge benefits, which is why they could gain support from governments.
We see the emergence of ecosystems consisting of service platforms, each of which performs a specific part of the larger job-to-be-done, and which depend on each other’s data and value creation. In the future, we can expect the manifestation of different ecosystems, each focusing on a different job, whether it be health, housing or education. Furthermore, the development of ecosystems will also demand new solutions in relation to the architecture of these systems. This could mean that APIs, data exchanges, data marketplaces and data clearing houses will become increasingly important as they enable the exchange of data and consequently improve the interoperability within, and ultimately, between job-specific ecosystems.