Managing ecosystems for service innovation: A dynamic capability view
The success of service innovations is intertwined with firms’ capabilities to coordinate, orchestrate, and collaborate with a set of external actors. Adopting an ecosystem and dynamic capability perspective, this article examines ecosystem-related capabilities for developing service innovation in product-centric firms. The research uses a mixed-methods approach focusing on the energy utility sector: (1) a survey with 133 managers from 28 firms that allows a comparison of ecosystem-related capabilities between firms with high and low service-innovation intensity; and (2) a complementary interview study with 8 of these firms that have high service-innovation intensity, allowing a detailed understanding of the relevant ecosystem-related capabilities to be developed. From the data we derive a set of 12 ecosystem-related capabilities for service innovation related to the sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring of external resources. The results indicate that firms with high service-innovation intensity possess significantly stronger ecosystem-related capabilities than firms with lower service-innovation intensity. Those firms also seem to sense and seize external opportunities and resources to a greater extent in order to reconfigure their service-related ecosystems. The findings also show that successful service innovators consider not only value-adding partnerships, such as suppliers and customers, to be relevant for service innovation, but also relationships with non-direct value-adding ecosystem stakeholders (e.g., local governments, communities, legislators).