Frameworks provide an ‘insight’ mechanism that helps people and organisations structure ideas and knowledge in ways that are accurately and meaningfully organised. Systems thinking is a holistic approach to this analysis. It focuses on the way that a system’s constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems. Most organisations often struggle with this holistic approach, choosing instead to focus on short term immediate results, rather than complex long- term interconnected issues, but those that do create a significant advantage.
The real-world ‘system dynamics’ of innovation ecosystems distinctly demonstrates the importance of the methodological orchestration of their underpinning networks in gaining innovation outcomes. We need to understand and actively orchestrate their internal dynamics, not leave highly valuable connections to serendipity. The greater number and depth of the connections in the system, the richer the outputs. This occurs by mapping (visualising) causalities across the different ecosystem actors, actively managing relationships (building trust) and “project managing” mutual outcomes to fruition. What we often fail to grasp is that it is the ‘liquidity’ in the ecosystem (the flow of shared value) that matters much more than the individual entities. This leads to a significantly higher value 'circular economy'.
‘Horizon Scanning’ and ‘Foresight Methods’ are, by their nature, collaborative, bringing external insights and different views into corporate strategy and government policy making. Collaboration could be across departments and policy teams or with broader ecosystem stakeholder groups to gather horizon scanning insights to act upon, develop future market scenarios or establish organisational visions. The thought processes, discussion and debate that go into creating foresight outputs are often as important as the outputs themselves.
The Care Economy
The Care Economy is an ecosystem of the activities and relationships involved in meeting the physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects of care and support. Care work encompasses a range of converging industry sectors such as chronic healthcare, ageing, disability, mental health, remedial education, and social work. It involves teachers, nurses, community health workers, social workers, and domestic workers. Many ‘early adopter’ organisations in this industry are now setting new aspirational goals around relationship-based care and seeking out multi-disciplinary collaborations to help them achieve this. The Care Economy remains an integral but undervalued component of economies all over the world, ensuring the welfare of communities, and best positioning them for equitable development.
Care Economy Programs of Work
The care economy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Australian economy. It is forecast to generate seriously large numbers of new jobs, currently employing more than 2,000,000 people and growing at 13% p.a. According to the World Economic Forum, 40% of all projected job opportunities globally. Yet we know very little about how it is structured or how it is managed. Most of the service provision remains as ‘cottage industries’, in crisis (ref Royal Commissions), and desperately in need of modernisation. We need to rethink how the whole ecosystem system works. We do this by taking a broad ‘Social Determinant of Health’ convergence perspective in closing down the many fragmented silo's. They all have common goals including greater consumer rights, choice and control, a much more highly skilled workforce, a capacity building approach, and 'lifetime cost of care' innovation/investments making their large government budgets much more viable over time. Working through these commonalities and modernising the sector as a whole provides one of the great engine rooms for both innovation and job creation. The economic ‘spill over’ effects beyond the sector are enormous. Lastly, achieving any form of substantive social equity is impossible without having a strong Care Economy in place. As such, there is a strong case for a comprehensive policy intervention that meets the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) in education, health, and decent work.