July 3, 2020

Latest Conference Research on Innovation Ecosystems

On June 18-19, we were scheduled to hold an ecosystem conference in Copenhagen, at the end of the annual DRUID conference. The conference was for papers being developed for a special issue of Research Policy, entitled “Innovation Ecosystems and Ecosystem Innovation.” Alas, disease, travel restrictions and economic collapse cancelled those plans.

Instead we held an online conference, modeled on the earlier 2012 conference for the Open Innovation special issue of Research Policy.

With the online conference, we had the same guest editors as originally planned: Carliss Baldwin, Marcel Bogers, Rahul Kapoor and Joel West. As with the original conference plans — and the 2012 conference for the earlier SI — the goal was to have a developmental workshop, to both highlight good work and improve the quality of the eventual submissions.


The conference had three keynotes. As noted previously, the two keynotes on Friday focused on publishing in Research Policy and in the special issue.

Thursday’s opening keynote by Carliss Baldwin was provocatively entitled “A Scientific Theory of Ecosystems (and Platforms).” Not surprisingly, it provided a sneak peak into the ecosystems chapter of her forthcoming Design Rules (Volume 2), which is being released in chapter form on SSRN.


We also invited presentation of the same 22 papers accepted for the originally planned for a face to face conference. They were presented in eight sessions in two parallel tracks across the two days.
  1. Maksim Belitski, Gimme Shelter or Fade Away: Innovation Ecosystems, Firm Productivity and Innovation
  2. Federica Ceci, Ecosystem Dynamics and Platform Survival: An Empirical Investigation of Anonymous Online Blackmarkets
  3. Carmelo Cennamo , Distinguishing Between Platforms and Ecosystems: Complementarities, Value Creation and Coordination Mechanisms
  4. Maria Halbinger, Fixing Your 3D Printer: How Community-Based Ecosystems Solve Tool-Related Problems and Enable Innovation
  5. Marianne Harbo Frederiksen, The Birth of an Innovation Ecosystem: An Engagement Intensity Approach to the Danish Drone Ecosystem
  6. Jianxi Luo, An Entrepreneur’s Ecosystem Strategy: Suntech and the Rise of a New Solar PV Ecosystem in China
  7. Milan Miric, How Does Competition Influence the Innovative Effort of Self-Rewarded Innovators? Evidence from a Mobile Application Marketplace
  8. Sven Niederhoefer, Betting on the Right Horse: Ecosystem Participation Strategies in the Smart Home Market
  9. Paul Olk, Creating New Models of Ecosystem Leadership: The Role of R&D Consortia in the Alzheimer’s Research Ecosystem
  10. Ksenia Podoynitsyna, Activity Configuration as Part of Ecosystem Strategy: Implications for Firm Performance
  11. Yovin Sadasing, Building and Shaping a Platform-based Ecosystem in a Nascent Market by a Start-up
  12. Jens Schmidt, Microfoundations of Integration in Innovation Ecosystems
  13. Sime Serge, How Do Focal Firms’ Technology and Actor Ecosystem Complexity Affect Value Creation? Evidence from the Semiconductor Industry
  14. Sungyong Um, The Role of Exogenous Codebases in the Success of Digital Products in Digital Platform Ecosystems: A Network Perspective
  15. Richard Tee, Open Standards and the Dynamics of Platform Competition: Analyzing the Nascent Podcasting Ecosystem
  16. Marc Van Dyck, Platform Leadership in an Emerging Industrial Ecosystem: Managing Strategic Openness
  17. Dennis van Kampen, Managing Legacy: Developing Ecosystems Against a Backdrop of Existing Relations and Interdependencies
  18. Wim Vanhaverbeke, The Dynamics of Establishing and Orchestrating an Ecosystem to Enter a New Market: The Case of the Pet Pack Dog Insurance in Belgium
  19. Pegah Yaghmaie, The Roles of Different Actors in the Belgian and Dutch Nano-electronics Innovation Ecosystems: Extending the Framework With Knowledge Partners
  20. Markos Zachariadis, Building Platform Ecosystems in Banking: Challenges and Trade-offs in Response to Regulatory Change in the UK
  21. Huanren Zhang, Cooperation and Competition in Innovation Ecosystem
  22. Marina Zhang, The Emergence and Development of China’s Mobile Payments Industry: An Ecosystem Perspective
Virtual arrangements chair Marcel Bogers rounded up seven celebrity discussants: Oliver Alexy, Erkko Autio, Henry Chesbrough, Ann Majcharzak, Geoffrey Parker, PK Toh and Marshall van Alstyne. As both a moderator and author, I know the authors greatly appreciate their insights and perspective.


In addition to these papers, we had 11 poster presentations — most accepted based on an extended abstract rather than full paper:
  • Roman Barwinski, Towards Conceptualizing Legitimation in Ecosystems in the Digital Age: Insights from 3D-Printing
  • Thomas Hurni, Striving for Trust in Ecosystems - How Cooperation Emerges Between Competitors
  • Ivana Kostovska , Ecosystem Interdependence: Identifying Challenges for Effective Ecosystem Orchestration
  • Jennifer Kuan, How DARPA Modularized the Semiconductor Industry
  • Lucas Miehe, Heterogeneous Innovation Ecosystem Governance Strategies to Manage Complementors
  • Debora Moretti, Investigating Orchestration When Ecosystems Start to Converge
  • Maria Jose Murcia, Orchestrating a Sustainability-oriented Innovation Ecosystem: The Case of FPInnovations and the Canadian Forest Products Industry
  • Roser Pujadas, Digital Interfacing and the Dynamics of Digital Ecosystems: Lessons from an Online Travel Ecosystem
  • Fabien Rezac, Exploring Orchestration of Value Co-creation Processes in Ecosystems
  • Masaharu Tsujimoto, The Integrative Capabilities of Emerging Ecosystems — The Case of Contactless IC “FeliCa” Ecosystems
  • Yuan Zhou, Exploring Network Communities in Innovation Ecosystem: Moderating Effects of Collaboration Complementarity

June 24, 2020

Publishing in a Research Policy special issue

Research Policy remains the top journal in innovation studies, and the only one in the FT 50 list. For readers who haven’t published in RP (or published recently), I thought I would summarize two conference talks last week about how to publish in RP.

Last Thursday and Friday, Carliss Baldwin, Marcel Bogers, Rahul Kapoor and I cohosted a conference for our planned RP special issue on “Innovation Ecosystems and Ecosystem Innovation”. It was originally intended to be in Copenhagen after the end of DRUID, but — like so much else this year — it was forced online by the pan(ic)demic and associated travel restrictions.

As with the earlier 2014 SI, this team of four guest editors is working with a specific member of the journal’s 13-member board of editors. For this special issue, Ammon Salter will be enforcing RP standards as the so-called Lead Editor. On Friday, both Ammon and I (based mainly on my 2014 experience) talked about publishing in Research Policy.

Ammon Salter: “Introduction to Research Policy”

Ammon started with a review of RP and its impact (probably redundant for a virtual room full of scholars who are eager to publish in RP). This included its rankings in the ABS and FT lists, as well as the Google Scholar ranking of innovation and entrepreneurship where RP is #1, well ahead of a virtual dead heat between ETP/JBV/SBE).

Among some of the general advice:
  • have a central focus on innovation/technology questions
  • don’t cite articles based on their journal ranking (i.e. only “A” journals) rather than where the most relevant research is published
  • avoid a “utopian” view of the theory or phenomenon
For the special issue, Ammon emphasized the importance of making a contribution relevant to a general innovation audience — in addition to any contribution(s) to the topic of the special issue.

There was a bit of a disagreement with the audience over Ammon’s claim that “RP does not require a strong theoretical contribution”; the conclusion of one attendee (consistent with my own) is that whether or not the editors demand such theory, the current batch of reviewers certainly do so.

In response, Ammon revised his statement: “If the paper is poorly informed by theory, that’s a problem.” This I believe is an apt summary of what I saw in 5+ years as a special issue editor (and briefly RP AE): no matter how strong or weak the novelty of the contribution, if the paper isn’t anchored to (“informed by”) theory, it won’t be published in a good journal.

Joel West: “Publishing in the RP Special Issue”

In my own talk, I summarized the guest editors’ goals 
  • Integrate, synthesize ecosystem research
  • Attract new authors, insights, contributions
  • Make ecosystems visible to broader innovation community
After reviewing the submission process, I projected how we would apply RP and other top journal principles to the editing of the special issues. Below are 4 slides, which includes my general concerns about qualitative methods:

Since the conference, we have posted a FAQ with updated guidelines for special issue submission.

Clarity Above All

One topic produced unanimity among the editorial team:
  • Ammon: “Have a clear story to tell — one that you could tell in a 2-minute elevator pitch.’
  • Carliss: “The greatest sin is to confuse your reader. A linear flow is essential across and within paragraphs.”
In my (brief) time as an AE, I developed a slogan
If you don’t know what your paper is about, how are we supposed to know?
Clearly clarity is valued by the editor, by reviewers and of course by the eventual readers of the journal. I am still amazed when I find a virtually unreadable paper in a respectable (“B”/“B+”) innovation journal: how did this paper make it through the process?

If you look at our 2014 special issue — edited by West, Salter, Vanhaverbeke and Chesbrough — we at least got this part right. The papers differ somewhat in their impact, but I think if you look at every single paper, it’s clear what the paper is trying to accomplish and what evidence was used to achieve that result. 

June 21, 2019

Research Opportunities for Network Forms of OI

At #RnDParis2019 Thursday, I gave a “master class” on the network forms of open innovation: alliances, communities, crowds, consortia, ecosystems and platforms. It was a standing room only session: it appears that there are a lot of innovation researchers (particularly those new in their careers) who want to learn more about this area and the research opportunities.

Interest in the network form of OI began with Wim Vanhaverbeke’s chapters in our 2006 book, Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm. I extended the idea with a chapter in our 2014 book, New Frontiers in Open Innovation. In several other papers (West et al 2006, 2014; West & Bogers, 2014), we noted the emphasis of OI research on dyadic collaboration between firms, and the dearth of research on OI in platforms, ecosystems, and so on.

There are many opportunities both for network research informed by OI, and using OI to inform one or more of the network forms of interorganizational cooperation.

My slides are up on Slideshare. I welcome any feedback or questions.


Joel West, Wim Vanhaverbeke and Henry Chesbrough, “Open Innovation: A Research Agenda,” in Henry Chesbrough, Wim Vanhaverbeke and Joel West, eds., Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 285-307.

Joel West, Ammon Salter, Wim Vanhaverbeke, Henry Chesbrough, “Open innovation: The next decade,” Special Issue on Open Innovation: New Insights and Evidence, Research Policy, 43, 5 (June 2014): 805-811. DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.03.001

June 19, 2019

Reviewing research on 3D Printing

At #RnDParis2019 today, I presented an updated overview of the business and economic research on #3Dprinting — almost all in the past five years. The talk was part of two 3DP sessions within the 2019 R&D Management Conferece hosted by Thierry Rayna, Frank Piller & I. They were also the follow up to the 2019 3D printing workshop hosted at École Polytechnique and the 2014 workshop held at RWTH Aachen.
The talk covered these themes

  • History of 3D printing industry (from West & Kuk, 2016)
  • Some stats on management/business research on 3D printing
  • Ideas and suggestions on how 3D printing research could have more impact

My slides have been uploaded to SlideShare. The full list of references is found as a Google Doc here. Please send me any corrections (although I will filter the list for business/econ publications).

Existing Publications

Using SSCI business/management papers I found 82 papers that mention "3D printing" or "3D printers" in the topic. Interestingly, 30% of the SSCI citations are to the 17 papers in Technology Forecasting and Social Change, most to the January 2016 special issue on 3D printing. (I have the unviable claim to have published the least cited paper in the special issue — a case study on Makerbot).

Having a Greater Impact

Today I repeated a call I made at last year’s workshop. In it, I encouraged scholars — or at least those who need to make careers at status-conscious universities — to have more rigorous research that can be published in the top journals:

  • Strong empirics
  • Stronger theory, more general contribution
  • Get beyond the phenomenon

The latter point is to have an impact beyond 3D printing research. I cited two literatures where I’ve contributed (but much later than others) to finding implications beyond the industry and phenomenon:

  • Open source: Managing online communities; Coordinating, governing decentralized production; Fine-tuning degrees of openness
  • Crowdsourcing: Matching seekers/solvers; Motivating contributors; Optimizing collaboration models

How far has 3D printing come so far? In my database of 3D printing articles, I found 7 papers in either FT or near-FT journals:

  1. Ben-Ner & Siemsen, “Decentralization and Localization of Production: The Organizational and Economic Consequences of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing),” California Management Review, 2017
  2. Garmulewicz et al, “Disruptive Technology as an Enabler of the Circular Economy: What Potential Does 3D Printing Hold?” California Management Review, 2018
  3. Unruh, “Circular Economy, 3D Printing, and the Biosphere Rules,” California Management Review, 2018
  4. d’Aveni, “The 3-D printing revolution,” Harvard Business Review, 2015
  5. Rindfleisch et al, “The Digital Revolution, 3D Printing, and Innovation as Data,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2017
  6. Kyriakou et al, “Knowledge Reuse For Customization: Metamodels In An Open Design Community For 3D Printing,” MIS Quarterly, 2017
  7. Greul et al, “Open at birth? Why new firms do (or don't) use open innovation,” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, 2018

#1-5 are really about managerial implications of 3D printing: something of interest that needs to be published, but most will have limited influence beyond 3D printing.

#6 is about Thingiverse, and contributes to the literature on knowledge sharing and reuse in online communities (a recent topic of interest by MISQ).

#7 is the paper that I, Anne Greul and Simon Bock first presented at the 2014 workshop (where it was just a research plan with no data). It is about how startup companies use inbound open innovation to launch their firms, and how they practice selective revealing: the sample is of startup 3D printer manufacturers.

By comparison, the first special issue on open source (Research Policy June 2003) was about the phenomenon — with modest methods. The second special issue (Management Science July 2006) was about better methods and (in some cases) a more direct contribution to generalizable theory.

April 5, 2019

Special Issue: Emerging Technologies

Call for Papers
Special Issue of Organization Science: Emerging Technologies and Organizing
Special Issue Editors:

  • Diane Bailey, University of Texas at Austin School of Information
  • Samer Faraj, McGill University
  • Pamela Hinds, Stanford University
  • Georg von Krogh, ETH Zurich
  • Paul Leonardi, UC Santa Barbara

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, robotics, digital platforms, social media, digital traces, blockchain, and 3D printing are increasingly reshaping human action and interaction in domains as varied as consumer credit-risk assessment, product design, platform work, healthcare diagnosis, hiring, predictive policing, custom manufacturing, automated fraud detection, consumer services, and surveillance. From organizational boundaries to employment relationships to individuals’ identification with organizations, these technologies are increasingly deployed in almost every process, form, and condition for organizing; their adoption and use are thereby calling into question our fundamental theories and ideas about organizations and organizing. This Special Issue seeks to advance scholarly understanding of how these theories and ideas need to evolve in the context of these new technologies.


  • April 1, 2019: Call announced
  • January 15, 2020: Submission
  • February 1, 2020: Initial screening decisions
  • April 1, 2020: First round of editorial decisions (reviews, desk rejects)
  • September 15, 2020: Resubmissions
  • November 15, 2020: Second round of editorial decisions (rejects, second review)
  • February 15, 2021: Final resubmission
  • April 1, 2021: Final decision or minor revisions handled by editors only
  • End of summer, 2021: Expected publication

Paper Development Activities
The topic of emerging technologies is rapidly building momentum in the scholarly community. Yet, recognizing the novelty of the phenomenon, the Special Issue (SI) editors plan to organize a series of meetings and a paper development workshop to help authors advance their work toward high-quality submissions. All of these events are optional. They include:

  • “Meet the SI Editors” session at the Conference on Organizing in the Era of Digital Technology, ETH Zurich Conference Facility at Monte Verita: June 12–15, 2019
  • “Meet the SI Editors” session at the Academy of Management: August 9–13, 2019
  • Paper Development Workshop, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA: October 10–11, 2019 (details to follow).

For the full CFP, see the Org Sci website.