The main difference between the two is “context”. A community exists within a given context: an ecosystem creates its own context.
In an enterprise setting, communities can deliver substantial value supporting certain business goals, e.g. fostering innovation or sharing best practices.
However, an ecosystem is an oxymoron within the enterprise. In essence, an ecosystem is a grouping of independent actors whose decisions are guided by their own desire for survival or progress. Consequently, it is a form of working together where the “outcome” is largely unknown. Whatever the social business pundits might claim, an ecosystem is something that really doesn’t fit with the needs and the wants of the enterprise and its stakeholders.
Therefore, in an enterprise setting, ecosystems can only exist in a multi-company context, where each company is an independent actor, sharing some common infrastructure, system or approach with the others, but all making their decisions based upon their own objectives and desires.
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