The value that products and services have for users increasingly depends on their complementarity with other products and services, organized in ecosystems. This study is situated in the smart home industry where digital products offer innumerable possibilities for combination, so that it is difficult or even impossible for firms to address them all. This leads to a coordination challenge in ecosystems. Through a multi-method comparative case study, we found that users are active players who not only select combinations designed by companies or simply mix and match products, but also design novel combinations that are of value to them, and share these with others. We find that users design more combinations than firms, but that firm-designed combinations have on average more users. By doing so, users contribute to value creation in ecosystems as they turn potential complementarity into actual, specific complementarity. We discuss implications for research on innovation ecosystems and user innovation.
|Publication status||Published - 10 Aug 2021|