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Roles during innovation ecosystem genesis: A literature review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date6 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


This paper addresses recent calls to enhance our understanding of innovation ecosystem genesis, focusing in particular on the roles that come to prominence during this important yet volatile phase in the innovation ecosystem lifecycle. To this end, we undertook a systematic review of the literature, which has allowed us to study in detail 60 publications appearing in journals and conference proceedings. Our results propose several roles seminal to innovation ecosystem birth, which we have collated thematically into four groups – leadership roles (‘ecosystem leader’ and ‘dominator’), direct value creation roles (‘supplier’, ‘assembler’, ‘complementor’, and ‘user’), value creation support roles (‘expert’ and ‘champion’), and entrepreneurial ecosystem roles (‘entrepreneur’, ‘sponsor’, and ‘regulator’) – and defined in terms of the specific activities they carry out during ecosystem birth. Furthermore, our findings tentatively suggest the entrance of these roles at different times as the process of genesis unfolds. Particular roles, such as the champion, are likely to be pivotal in ensuring that the innovation can move successfully from discovery to its commercialization. We conclude our paper by discussing future research avenues that can build on our role typology, to shed further light on the process of innovation ecosystem genesis.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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