SSE Invited Talk - Philip Boxer, Competing Within Ecosystems: Sustaining Ways of Creating Indirect Value

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 1:00 pm

Location: Babbio 110 and Online via Wimba


SSE Invited Talk

Competing Within Ecosystems: Sustaining Ways of Creating Indirect Value

Philip Boxer, Boxer Research Ltd



The presentation will discuss the nature of the complexity that makes this way of thinking about the relationships between suppliers and customers ‘non-classical’.  Thus entanglement means moving from a one-sided to a multi-sided understanding of markets, which changes the unit of analysis from the supplier to the ecosystem with which the supplier is interacting.  Analysing market behaviours in a way that is driven by a tempo of demand organised by customers’ value deficits means that there are many different local environments within which market behaviours are expected to be aligned. 

A quantum metaphor will be used to cast light on what makes this way of thinking ‘non-classical’.  The varieties of simultaneous behaviours which the business platform must be able to support are a superposed set of states. Each customer’s local environment collapses a singular local state from this platform that need not be correlated with states experienced in other customers’ environments.  This collapse takes place through the local coherence created by alignment processes organised by shared meaning established within the customer’s local environment.

Two implications drawn from this way of thinking will be discussed:  first, how are agile platforms to be engineered if they are to support this level of variety in simultaneous complex behaviours; and second, how are the forms of agency to be developed within an organisation through which many forms of simultaneous local coherence may be created and sustained cost-effectively at its edges.



Philip Boxer, BSc MBA PhD, brings over 30 years of consulting experience to his work, helping clients in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.  These include retailing, logistics, manufacturing, defence, finance, telecommunications, computing services, utilities, healthcare and professional services. His expertise is to enable clients to move their operating models towards being able to respond to their customers one-by-one, and extend their models to engage with more and more of their clients’ environments.  His practice has helped CEO’s, Boards and senior managers develop and transform their organisations, manage new kinds of risk, improve bottom-line performance, enter new markets and realise new strategies.  Focused on the client’s development of deep insight while tackling difficult challenges, his practice has developed and uses approaches that increase the agility of organisations and enable them to scale learning across new environments.

Philip’s research into the socio-technical models used by leaders has included conducting European EUREKA-funded research and working as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University.   He has published in a number of books and scholarly journals in the fields of Organisational and Social Dynamics, Management Studies, Enterprise Architecture and Systems Engineering. Philip received a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from King’s College in London University, an MSc in Business Administration from the London Graduate School of Business Studies, and a PhD from the School of Engineering and Information Sciences at Middlesex University, London. He is a member of IEEE, the International Council on Systems Engineering, the Institute of Consulting, the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, and the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research.