Platforms, Open/User Innovation, and Ecosystems: A Strategic Leadership Perspective

50 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2017 Last revised: 25 Apr 2017

See all articles by Elizabeth J. Altman

Elizabeth J. Altman

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Michael Tushman

Harvard University - Organizational Behavior Unit

Date Written: April 1, 2017

Abstract

Platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies embrace and enable interactions with external entities. Firms pursuing these approaches conduct business and interact with environments differently than those pursuing traditional closed strategies. This paper considers these strategies together highlighting similarities and differences between platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies. We focus on managerial and organizational challenges for organizations pursuing these strategies and identify four institutional logic shifts associated with these strategic transitions: 1) increasing external focus, 2) moving to greater openness, 3) focusing on enabling interactions, and 4) adopting interaction-centric metrics. As mature incumbent organizations adopt these strategies, there may be tensions and multiple conflicting institutional logics. Additionally, we consider four strategic leadership topics and how they relate to platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies: 1) executive orientation and experience, 2) top management teams, 3) board-management relations, and 4) executive compensation. We discuss theoretical implications, and consider future directions and research opportunities.

Keywords: Platforms, open/user innovation, ecosystems, crowdsourcing, institutional logics, strategic leadership, top management teams, CEO role

Suggested Citation

Altman, Elizabeth J. and Tushman, Michael, Platforms, Open/User Innovation, and Ecosystems: A Strategic Leadership Perspective (April 1, 2017). Harvard Business School Organizational Behavior Unit Working Paper No. 17-076, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2915213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2915213

Elizabeth J. Altman

University of Massachusetts Lowell ( email )

1 University Ave
Lowell, MA 01854
United States

Michael Tushman (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Organizational Behavior Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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