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The social dynamics of heterogeneous innovation ecosystems

Ferdinand, Jan-Peter; Meyer, Uli

Inst. Soziologie

In this article, we develop a programmatic notion of innovation ecosystems, which emphasizes the analysis of different forms of distributed innovation without reducing the perspective to the role of a focal organization. It highlights relationships between communities and corporate firms as nexus for distributed innovation and elaborates how different facets of openness shape the dynamic of the ecosystem. Thus, our model allows for the analysis and comparison of a broad scope of constellations, their particular coordinating mechanisms as well as related advantages and disadvantages. We apply this framework to two specific cases of distributed innovation, the RepRap 3D printer and the ARA modular smartphone, in order to delineate how differences in the forms of openness affect the prevalent relationships between communities and firms as well as the constituting functions of their particular innovation ecosystem.