When people use the word “ecosystem” to refer to something which is not an ecosystem (e.g. the education ‘ecosystem’ or a network of people sharing resources on the Internet), be aware that the analogy will break at some point (unless the system in question is broadened to include the real ecosystem within which it functions). In general, the word “system” will suffice. In some cases “social system” or “socio-technical system” (etc.) might be more appropriate. Be sure to clearly define the system boundaries and make any assumptions explicit.

Advertisements