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Ecosystems, Ecosystems management


Innovation ecosystems have gained significant scholarly and managerial attention. Much of the literature focuses on established ecosystems, and the limited research that examines ecosystem emergence does not dig deeper into the dynamics and challenges during the process of emergence. With a focus on the transition from birth to growth of an ecosystem, this paper fills this important gap by systematically examining how a nascent ecosystem develops into a thriving one. Employing a conceptualized composition approach, we conduct an in-depth qualitative study on the emergence of the modern small satellite ecosystem from 1981 to 2017. Our case analysis demonstrates a dynamic process through which a seed innovation gradually grows into a thriving ecosystem without a centralized sponsor. We explicate how tensions arise within an evolving ecosystem and how forces hindering specialization delay the emergence process. We then develop a process model of ecosystem emergence to conceptualize how actors gradually become specialized, how their specialization decisions coevolve with the ecosystem value proposition, and how tensions get resolved through a complex and iterative process. We contribute to the literature by advancing an evolutionary view of ecosystem emergence with an in-depth analysis of the transition from birth to growth of an ecosystem.


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