Strategic Ecosystem-Driven R&D Management

About the project

Today, companies increasingly operate in networks of stakeholders described as business ecosystems. The concept refers to the shift from an intra-organizational perspective to an inter-organizational perspective where product development and innovation are collaborative efforts in which companies depend on a number of external stakeholders. This implies that increasing attention is being paid to relationships and dependencies between companies, and that the positioning towards other companies in the ecosystem becomes a critical task.

To maximize the potential of an ecosystem, companies seek to coordinate standardization efforts, share maintenance costs, and engage in open innovation initiatives, while at the same time increase control and accelerate development of differentiating functionality. To achieve this, companies need strategies for how to effectively interact with stakeholders such as vendors, suppliers, customers and users.

In this project, we distinguish between three different ecosystems in which companies operate in, i.e. the innovation ecosystem, the differentiating ecosystem and the commoditizing ecosystem and we identify strategies that companies apply for managing these. In particular, we study how different strategies can be used to effectively accelerate innovation, sustain differentiation, coordinate standardization efforts and share maintenance costs.

The goal of this project is to provide companies with strategic support for how to manage the innovation, the differentiating and the commoditizing ecosystem.

Participating companies

  • Ericsson
  • Jeppesen
  • AB Volvo
  • Volvo Cars
  • Axis Communications
  • Grundfos
  • SAAB

Participating researchers

  • Dr. Helena Holmström Olsson, Malmö University
  • Prof. Jan Bosch, Chalmers University of Technology


Dr. Helena Holmström Olsson, Malmö University