Orchestrating Innovation Ecosystems: A Qualitative Analysis of Ecosystem Positioning Strategies

Katri Valkokari, Marko Seppänen, Maria Mäntylä, Simo Jylhä-Ollila

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    This article explores how firms can orchestrate innovation ecosystems to enhance collaboration for innovation among different actors. Most previous research on ecosystems has focused on firm-level strategies to operate in an ecosystem rather than the composition or orchestration of an ecosystem as a whole. However, finding the balance between the self-interests of involved actors is critical in order to create collaborative settings that induce different parties to jointly develop and put their best efforts into a joint endeavour. Thus, we undertook a qualitative study with 35 case companies from the metal and engineering industries, each of whom was interested in developing their position in ecosystems and improving their relational business practices. The findings suggest that there is an essential ecosystem competence that is needed by all actors in an ecosystem, regardless of their position, and that is the ability to manage dynamic strategic interactions related to innovation. This competence enables them to ensure the future vitality of the ecosystem and their own business. These results highlight the need for managers to profile their own company's role in an ecosystem in relation to the type of ecosystems, while simultaneously evaluating the ecosystem's ability and potential to survive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-24
    JournalTechnology Innovation Management Review (TIM Review)
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • ecosystems
    • innovation
    • orchestration
    • positioning
    • actors
    • roles
    • strategy
    • collaboration


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