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Innovation ecosystems: a meta-synthesis

Marcos Ferasso (Faculdade Meridional – IMED, Passo Fundo, Brazil)
Adriana R. Wunsch Takahashi (Universidade Federal do Parana, Curitiba, Brazil)
Fernando A. Prado Gimenez (Universidade Federal do Parana, Curitiba, Brazil)

International Journal of Innovation Science

ISSN: 1757-2223

Article publication date: 25 April 2018

Issue publication date: 15 October 2018




This metasynthesis aims to build a theory on the concept of innovation ecosystem from the state of the art of qualitative case studies available in indexed scientific production using interpretive synthesis (Hoon, 2013).


This research was conducted by the postulates of the metasynthesis method (Hoon, 2013) to generate theory from qualitative case studies. The authors retrieved 77 research papers from databases, of which 6 were used for synthesis purposes. Each selected research paper reported one or more cases, which were analyzed separately. At the final stage, a data synthesis was structured and the cases were crossed, which allowed the development of a schematic representation and a theoretical construction of the innovation ecosystem concept. The approach used in this research is a metatheoretical assumption from economics and management and ecology to explore the theoretical gap in the concept of innovation ecosystems.


There is not yet a conceptual consensus on the term, which sometimes leads researchers to address partial or complementary concepts. The analysis identified constitutive elements of an innovation ecosystem that lead to structuring a framework of organic and dynamic interrelationships that a given organization has with various external organizations, allowing the creation of innovative products in a faster way.

Research limitations/implications

This paper helps scholars and researchers consider a new metatheoretical perspective to analyze dynamics, constitutive elements and multilevels of an innovation ecosystem.

Practical implications

For practitioners, this paper sheds lights on the importance of recognizing a systemic consideration of innovation ecosystems that falls in global relationships, industry dynamics and identification of main global–local actors/enablers to produce innovations internally at a given organization.


The novelty of this paper lies in a more delineated definition and a schematic representation of an innovation ecosystem based on a global–local perspective of product creation and manufacturing and interactions that a given company has, regardless of the geographical location of its dispersed strategic partners.



The authors thank the Associate Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their time in evaluating our research paper and for their valuable comments that improved this research. Marcos Ferasso thanks to CAPES Brazilian Funding Agency for the support through a scholarship.


Ferasso, M., Wunsch Takahashi, A.R. and Prado Gimenez, F.A. (2019), "Innovation ecosystems: a meta-synthesis", International Journal of Innovation Science, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 495-518.



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