Networks and collaborative projects can take different shapes but they all need to be driven by visionary local leaders. City mayors and regional government leaders are often considered as the typical leaders of the digital initiatives. However, digital territories can be supported by local leaders from diverse sectors and backgrounds. The development of smart digital ecosystems requires coordinated action on multiple levels: between local businesses but also between businesses and local governments, universities, citizens and support organisations. Understanding the role of collaborations (practical and digital), networks and how takeholders in the digital ecosystem can complement each other, interact and cooperate is crucial to bring forward win-win opportunities for all parties.
Rarely has collaboration been so important for the governance of local ecosystems. In an interconnected, volatile and rapidly changing world, partnerships, networks and joint ventures are critical to bring about a favourable digital ecosystem. However, the launch of digital initiatives often entails the creation of competing interests from various stakeholders such as private sector organisations (e.g. large companies, start-ups and investors); the different layers of governments; universities and researchcentres. Leading collaboratively has therefore become an imperative to succeed in these multi-stakeholder environments. Without the right sort of (inspired) leadership, digital stakeholders cannot achieve anything. Local stakeholders need to realise and accept that interdependence is a reality in order to span geographical, hierarchical and organisational boundaries.
3 key success factors
- Create a forward-looking digital strategy and build a shared vision around it
- Build long-lasting partnerships and trust relationships
- Collaborate across sectorial boundaries and value chains
Driving leadership and collaboration with the next generation of digital ambassadors