Complementors as Connectors: Managing Open Innovation in Digital Product Platforms

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Through open, standardized interfaces, autonomous third parties can develop complementary products and services for digital product platforms, but, at the same time, these third parties also establish connections that span multiple platforms - beyond the control of the platform owner. This paper sheds light on how platform owners can manage these connections on a technical and organizational level. Through an in-depth field study of the Philips Hue connected lighting platform ecosystem we find that complementors create an increasingly complex web of connections by adding to the platform, bridging platforms, and embedding in other platforms. We show that in the resulting ecology of platforms, platform owners cannot rely only on arms length relationships; partnerships involving more intensive interactions are needed for the type of complex connections.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Global Proceedings
Issue numberSurrey
Early online date15 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAcademy of Management Specialized Conference: Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy - Surrey, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Apr 201820 Apr 2018


  • complementors
  • platform ecosystems
  • home automation


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