The emergence of innovation ecosystems: Exploring the role of the keystone firm
During periods of technological change, firms seek new collaborations and sometimes even reach out to competitors in order to obtain new resources and competences. Understanding the collaborations surrounding new technologies has implications for firms pursuing opportunities with new technologies. The notion of ecosystems is increasingly used in literature to address value creation activities involving a network of firms. The purpose of this licentiate thesis is to understand the emergence of new innovation ecosystems. Previous research on ecosystems recognizes “keystone” firm as the anchor that ensure growth and stability in the ecosystem. However, the activities that foreshadow the development of an ecosystem and the role played by a prospective keystone firm in the emergence of an ecosystem is undertheorized.
Based on a longitudinal case study of a technology development program at an automotive firm, the findings presented in this licentiate thesis show how the joint venture established by the incumbent firm led to the development of a modular technology. The main findings illustrate how the incumbent automotive firm attracted a network of actors that develop innovative solutions and other complementarities for the technology. The network of actors developing offerings for the modular technology, in turn, facilitated the incumbent firm to position itself as a keystone firm and orchestrate the emergence of a new innovation ecosystem. The thesis contributes to theory by showing how a firm can orchestrate the emergence of an innovation ecosystem and position itself as the keystone firm.
2456 Korsvägen, Vasa Hus 2, Vera Sandbergs Allé 8, Chalmers University of Technology
Opponent: Nicolette Lakemond, Linköping University, Sweden