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  • Writer's pictureMark Hastings

Explainer: What is an ecosystem?

The journey to lasting change is often uncertain. Clients need a partner that can deal with uncertainty and negotiate the twists and turns of programme delivery. We have created an ecosystem that enables us to provide a broad range of skills and deep capability to enable clients deal with these challenges, confident they can access the right skills at the right time, in real-time, to achieve the best outcomes.​ Harvard Business Review recently said that "ecosystem businesses are challenging the conventional view of how businesses operate." But what is an ecosystem? Here's our handy explainer!

An ecosystem business model refers to the way companies interact with and depend on other companies, organisations, and individuals to create value for clients. In an ecosystem business model, companies collaborate and co-create value with their partners to achieve a common goal: working together to create and offer goods and services to clients. The companies in the ecosystem complement each other and often share resources and data to create new opportunities and efficiencies.

The benefits of ecosystem business models are many, but they can be broadly categorised into three main areas: innovation, efficiency, and agility.


First, ecosystems can be powerful drivers of innovation. By bringing together diverse partners with different skills, resources, and perspectives, ecosystems can foster the creation of new products and services, and harness innovative thinking that would not be possible otherwise.


Second, ecosystems can help drive efficiency by reducing costs and increasing the speed at which new products and services can be delivered. By leveraging the capabilities of partners, ecosystems can access new technologies, processes, and resources that will help them to deliver for their clients.


Finally, ecosystems are more nimble and responsive than traditional businesses and therefore able to adapt quickly to changing client needs, market conditions and niche requirements by working with a diverse set of partners. Additionally, ecosystems provide resilience through easy access to new resources and capabilities, making them stronger partners in the face of uncertainty.

How can ecosystems help the UK public sector?

Ecosystem business models can be an effective way to address the challenges facing the UK public sector, such as improving service delivery, transforming services, improving citizen experience/patient outcomes, reducing costs, and increasing innovation. By engaging an ecosystem, public sector clients can access a wide range of expertise, resources, experiences and capabilities of the ecosystem partners to transform their services and operations.

Ecosystems can also play a key role in helping the public sector to deliver new and innovative services that meet the needs of citizens. By working with ecosystem partners, public sector organisations can access new technologies and services that will help them to improve the quality and efficiency of their services, and to address the changing needs of citizens.

By selecting a partner with an ecosystem business model, public sector clients can access the broad and deep capabilities of that ecosystem through a single procurement, rather than running multiple expensive and time-consuming procurements to achieve the same goal. They are a great way to kick-start a major transformation programme where the final destination is not known from the outset. Establishing multi-year partnerships in this way can help clients to adapt their transformation programmes over time, as needs become clearer.

The i10 Ecosystem

The i10 ecosystem is specifically designed to provide broad and deep DDaT expertise to UK public sector clients in central government, arm's length bodies, local government, healthcare, social housing / housing associations, defence and blue light. This ecosystem approach brings additional benefits over traditional consultancy models, specifically:

  • Resilience, breadth and depth - working with multiple partners makes us less susceptible to market-forces-related risks, drawing on over 1,750 Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) experts.

  • Independence - with deep expertise across most client tech stacks, we are focused on solving our clients' challenges in the right way for them, rather than being driven by utilisation rates or excess capacity.

  • Hive-mind thinking - "None of us is as smart as all of us”, and our ecosystem means our clients benefit from diverse hive-mind thinking from the UK’s best SMEs to wrestle with their most complex challenges and solve them in innovative and cost-effective ways.

In conclusion, ecosystem business models can be powerful tools for creating value and solving challenges faced by the UK public sector. To find out more, please get in touch!

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