Earlier this year, I was chatting with a fellow ecosystem builder who had just been hired to convene an entrepreneurial ecosystem. From the outside, it looked pretty mature. They had the right institutions, programs, a digital map, co-working spaces, an active angel network, and an active entrepreneurial community.

But when he got there, it quickly became clear that while the stakeholders wanted to see the ecosystem thrive, they all had vastly different ideas of what that journey should look like.

When I facilitated a session with that group, the tension in the room made my hands sweat. It felt like everyone was trying to defend their territory, even though, in principle, they all wanted the same thing.

Is this uncommon when diverse stakeholders come together? No.

Does this type of tension or conflict have the potential to break apart an ecosystem and stall all progress? Hell yes.

So, how do we build a culture of trust and collaboration within our ecosystems so that we might look beyond individual agendas and focus on what is best for entrepreneurs?

In short, how do we build social capital?

That’s what we’re digging into this season.

Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player!

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why trust and collaboration are essential to navigating complex adaptive systems
  • Why we (myself included!) need to learn conflict management skills
  • How the kinds of networks we’re naturally inclined to build influence our work as ecosystem builders

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