Innovation ecosystems as structures: Actor roles, timing of their entrance, and interactions

Ozgur Dedehayir*, Saku J. Mäkinen, J. Roland Ortt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


Despite their importance little is known about how innovation ecosystems come into existence. We address this gap through an historical case study Herceptin, a revolutionary drug developed for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancer, and the innovation ecosystem that emerged around this drug between 1978 and 1998. Through qualitative content analysis of a broad scope of archival documents (2474 in total), we define a cast of roles and determine their timing of entry onto the stage of ecosystem emergence, and in turn describe the interaction of these roles that govern emergence. We find that the locus of ecosystem emergence shifts gradually from discovery, resource provision and commitment, to the formation of connections and trust, and finally to complementarity and value creation. These activities are facilitated by specific roles that gain significance at various points in time. We additionally witness shifts in interaction dynamics, from individual level interactions early on, to interactions across levels, and finally to interactions at the organisational level. We synthesize these findings to propose a framework of a processual understanding of how innovation ecosystems come into existence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number121875
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Ecosystem emergence
  • Herceptin
  • Innovation ecosystem
  • Microfoundations
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Role


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