Collaboration strategies in innovation ecosystems
An empirical study of the German microelectronics and photonics industries
Effective collaboration between companies and research organizations is key to successful innovation systems. Against the background of digitalization, a shift from traditional innovation systems towards innovation ecosystems can be observed. In this article, we investigate how companies operating in innovation ecosystems address the challenge of collaboration in dynamic innovation ecosystems. We focus on microelectronics and photonics in Germany as examples of knowledge- and research-intensive industries and analyze the strategies of companies to collaborate with research organizations. We explore whether and to what extent companies develop different and new strategies for collaborating with research institutions within innovation ecosystems, on the basis of which we identify two ideal types of strategies. Whereas ideal type A is aiming towards obtaining specific knowledge in order to further develop a particular technology or product (i.e., towards incremental innovation), ideal type B seeks to harness the new and full potential of innovation ecosystems (i.e., aiming at rather radical innovation). Finally, our findings contribute to a better understanding of innovation ecosystems and give managerial implications for collaborating in such systems.