Researching ecosystems in innovation contexts


  • Erkko Autio Imperial College Business School, London, UK
  • Llewellyn D.W. Thomas IESE Business School, Barcelona



Keywords Ecosystem, EEntrepreneurial ecosystem, Business ecosystem, Innovation ecosystem, Urban ecosystem, Industrial ecosystem


Purpose – The rapid adoption of the ecosystem concept in innovation contexts has led to a proliferation of differing uses. Scholars need to be crystal clear which concept of the ecosystem they are using to facilitate communication between scholars and allow for cumulativeness and creativity. This paper aims to introduce some clarity into the conceptual mist that surrounds the notion of “ecosystems” in innovation contexts. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the extant literature on ecosystems in innovation contexts to derive an integrated approach to understanding the variety of constructs in use. Findings – This paper introduces clarity into the conceptual mist that surrounds the term “innovation ecosystem”, showing there are three basic types of ecosystems, all of which have a common focus on the collective production of a coherent system-level output. Originality/value – Contributes through a comprehensive overview of the differing ecosystem types in innovation contexts and with a heuristic to disambiguate types of innovation ecosys



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Researching ecosystems in innovation contexts. (2022). INMR - Innovation & Management Review, 19(1), 12-25.