A participatory ecosystem is a business ecosystem with relatively low barriers to economic participation, artistic and professional expression, and civic engagement by all stakeholders, including producers and consumers.
It has strong support for creating, sharing and increasing the production of goods and services of value to the ecosystem. A participatory ecosystem will have system processes where established stakeholders are incentivized to share knowledge, access to markets, and capital to new stakeholders in the ecosystem, and to turn consumers into producers.
Stakeholders with leadership positions in a participatory ecosystem may change over time, but the function of an ecosystem leader is valued by the community because it enables members to move toward shared visions, grow the market, to align their investments, and to find mutually supportive roles in the ecosystem.
A participatory system is resilient, and has system processes, such as decentralization, to prevent bad actors. Every stakeholder in a participatory ecosystem believes that their goods and services matter, and feel some degree of social connection and community with one another (at least they care what other people think about what they produce.) Not every stakeholder must produce, but all must believe that they are free to produce when ready and what they contribute will be appropriately valued.
(source: Created by Christopher Allen, a mashup of Henry Jenkins’ “participatory culture” and James Moore’s “business ecosystem” definitions)