Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Winning ecosystems


I do not believe a success is anytime a single person success. No man is an island, as Milton said, I think, and so every person is at least a part of an archipelago, if not a continent.

My colleague Mitja told me today that the idea of winning systems was  promoted by Porter. Porter is the famous author of management concepts on strategy and competition. What Porter claims is that in order to put together a winning ecosystem of companies and supporting institutions one has to rely on existing old systems.

A case in point is Sweden. Sweden’s most successful industries in the past were in wood and steel. Today’s Sweden’s top companies are coming directly from these industries. IKEA comes from wood, SKF, Volvo and Skania come from steel. The link to Ericsson is not known to me, but I do know that Nokia from Finland, the neighbour of Sweden, does come from wood, or it’s sibling, paper industry.

Porter claims that ecosystems are simply to complex to be made from scratch. One does need to rely on what people know in a country, which skills they have, what kind of innovation is supported already, where banks feel safe to invest, where everyone can participate. The potential of a country is best used by those who can harness from all the existing disciplines. It is kind of taking the old and repackaging it as new, and then selling it globally.

Slovenia, what are you good at traditionally? Wood, steel, some textile, banking? Well, there are much better examples. One needs to go further, all disciplines count when ecosystems are involved. Say poetry. Prešern, our poet allegedly used 3 times as many different words in his corpus as Shakespeare. Or alpinistic climbing, where not only we have Marko Prezelj, two times winner of the most prestigious alpine climbing award, we have thousands of regular mountain goers/lovers. I’ve mentioned sailing boats design many times over on this blog. Another, new example, is IPv6. Currently Slovenia is far ahead of any other countries worldwide in terms of how far ahead we are in different aspects of IPv6 deployment. This feat is mostly attributable to Jan Žorž, but acclaim also goes to many of his supporters in, and furthermore to all governmental and entrepreneurial organisations in the field of telecommunications, wherein the roots go back to Iskra, the initial spark that seems to having had prepared everything for this avalanche to go off in the course of all the decades after the second world war.

If I were to look for a micro-ecosystem in the wider context of this country I would look for a minimum orchestra. One such orchestra with real names behind is: a mentor, a tennis player, an apprentice, a craftsman, a mosaic artist, a singer, a cook and a rotweiler lover. Do you recognize yourself?

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