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Platforms, Open/User Innovation, and Ecosystems: A Strategic Leadership Perspective

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Platforms

ISBN: 978-1-78743-080-8, eISBN: 978-1-78743-079-2

Publication date: 16 September 2017


Platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies embrace and enable interactions with external entities. Firms pursuing these approaches conduct business and interact with environments differently than those pursuing traditional closed strategies. This chapter considers these strategies together highlighting similarities and differences between platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies. We focus on managerial and organizational challenges for organizations pursuing these strategies and identify four institutional logic shifts associated with these strategic transitions: (1) increasing external focus, (2) moving to greater openness, (3) focusing on enabling interactions, and (4) adopting interaction-centric metrics. As mature incumbent organizations adopt these strategies, there may be tensions and multiple conflicting institutional logics. Additionally, we consider four strategic leadership topics and how they relate to platform, open/user innovation, and ecosystem strategies: (1) executive orientation and experience, (2) top management teams, (3) board-management relations, and (4) executive compensation. We discuss theoretical implications, and consider future directions and research opportunities.




The authors would like to thank the editors of this volume for inviting us to participate and for their excellent and constructive feedback. Our work on this chapter allowed us to crystallize our thinking on a discussion we started a number of years ago. We also would like to thank Frank Nagle, our coauthor on related research, who provided valuable input. Elizabeth J. Altman would like to thank the Manning School of Business at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Harvard Business School for supporting this research. Michael L. Tushman would like to acknowledge the support of Harvard Business School’s Division of Research and Faculty Development.


Altman, E.J. and Tushman, M.L. (2017), "Platforms, Open/User Innovation, and Ecosystems: A Strategic Leadership Perspective", Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Platforms (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 37), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 177-207.



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