Complementors as connectors: managing open innovation around digital product platforms

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In the digital age, open innovation is increasingly organized around platform ecosystems. This paper investigates how firms can coordinate open innovation as a platform strategy for the development of complementary products by independent third parties. We draw on a qualitative case study of Philips Hue – a connected lighting platform for consumers with its variety of complementary products. We identify three increasingly complex ways in which independent complements connect to a focal platform. Our findings show that managing these connections requires a hybrid open innovation approach that combines arm’s length coordination, with a large number of complementors through open interfaces, and intensive bilateral collaboration, with a selected number of partners. Our findings demonstrate that complex interconnections across digital platforms and products lead to the management challenge of navigating an ‘ecology of platforms’, which warrants future research.
LanguageEnglish
JournalR&D Management
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2019

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Innovation
Ecology
Ecosystems
Lighting
Product platform
Digital products
Open innovation
Complementary products
Bilateral
Interconnection
Warrants
Ecosystem
Platform strategy

Cite this

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title = "Complementors as connectors: managing open innovation around digital product platforms",
abstract = "In the digital age, open innovation is increasingly organized around platform ecosystems. This paper investigates how firms can coordinate open innovation as a platform strategy for the development of complementary products by independent third parties. We draw on a qualitative case study of Philips Hue – a connected lighting platform for consumers with its variety of complementary products. We identify three increasingly complex ways in which independent complements connect to a focal platform. Our findings show that managing these connections requires a hybrid open innovation approach that combines arm’s length coordination, with a large number of complementors through open interfaces, and intensive bilateral collaboration, with a selected number of partners. Our findings demonstrate that complex interconnections across digital platforms and products lead to the management challenge of navigating an ‘ecology of platforms’, which warrants future research.",
author = "Susan Hilbolling and Hans Berends and F. Deken and Philipp Tuertscher",
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Complementors as connectors: managing open innovation around digital product platforms. / Hilbolling, Susan; Berends, Hans; Deken, F.; Tuertscher, Philipp.

In: R&D Management, 23.04.2019.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - In the digital age, open innovation is increasingly organized around platform ecosystems. This paper investigates how firms can coordinate open innovation as a platform strategy for the development of complementary products by independent third parties. We draw on a qualitative case study of Philips Hue – a connected lighting platform for consumers with its variety of complementary products. We identify three increasingly complex ways in which independent complements connect to a focal platform. Our findings show that managing these connections requires a hybrid open innovation approach that combines arm’s length coordination, with a large number of complementors through open interfaces, and intensive bilateral collaboration, with a selected number of partners. Our findings demonstrate that complex interconnections across digital platforms and products lead to the management challenge of navigating an ‘ecology of platforms’, which warrants future research.

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