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Kickstarting an innovation ecosystem

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De Meyer, A 
Williamson, PJ 


Business leaders design innovation ecosystems to facilitate innovation in highly uncertain conditions. Scholars have established the value of these ecosystems in countless publications and studies. Usually, however, they have focused on the optimal conditions for a successful ecosystem, or on differentiating business ecosystems from platform companies or supply chains. And while executives have long found the ecosystem an interesting and useful organizational construct, few know how to start an ecosystem, let alone expand an existing one. We used our findings from eight in-depth case studies to design a simple six-step framework for starting and growing an ecosystem. Executives that follow this framework will learn how to ensure that their ecosystem leader is credible, select the right foundation partners to bring onboard, design an initial roadmap, demonstrate the value of the system to partners thinking of joining, reduce the entry barriers and transaction costs, and select partners who can bring along a sub-ecosystem. They can also learn to scale the ecosystem quickly by having a clear architecture, avoiding encroachment on partners’ activities, and creating incentives for partners to invest.



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Management and Business Review

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Management and Business Review

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