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Innovation and ecosystem-based collaborations

In English

Today, businesses all over the globe are increasingly becoming concerned with acquiring resilience to operate in the longer run, by enduring the shocks of radical changes taking place in their business settings. Digitalization is believed to be one of the key factors that cause disruptions. This phenomenon compels companies to think about how they can survive these disruptions and innovate to keep their competitive advantage.

Tackling such complex challenges require companies to think out of the box and build mechanisms to promote innovative solutions.  These mechanisms include the integration of internal resources and interacting with external actors of the innovation ecosystem. The latter phenomenon innovation ecosystem has gained enormous attention in both industry and academia. The essence of the innovation ecosystem lies in interactions and collaborations among different actors that are not confined to traditional value chain networks. These actors come along and have a synergetic effect on the co-creation and co-innovation of the companies including large, small and medium enterprises.

This ecosystem includes collaborators and competitors. Marissa Mayer once said, “When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.”  Therefore, companies must adopt a strategy for managing a balance between competition and collaboration. Adopting a coopetition (collaboration between competitors) strategy is the best way to find a balance between competition and collaboration in the ecosystem context. However, according to new research by Kamalaldin published in 2021, “every company need to understand dynamics of their ecosystem and approach the competitive ecosystem accordingly as an orchestrator, dominator, complementor, or protector”.

As an orchestrator, the company takes the leadership role by coordinating the different actors for value creation, whereas as a dominator company takes the leadership role but other actors are selectively allowed to co-create value in this process. Both complementor and protector take the follower role in which complementor participates to complement the offerings to create higher value. However, the protector is the one who participates but remains hesitant to share their business knowledge due to high competition

By following these strategies companies can devise their roadmap to play an effective role in ecosystem-based collaborations and engage more in co-creation activities with collaborators and competitors. These ecosystem-based interactions will lead them to co-create innovative solutions as well as build internal capabilities essential to navigate in a highly disruptive business environment.

Shahid Hafeez

Doctoral Student / Project Researcher, Industrial Management
School of Technology and Innovations / Innolab
University of Vaasa

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