Platforms, open/user innovation, and ecosystems: A strategic leadership perspective

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 paper 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.

Altman, E.J. and Tuschman, M.L. (2017), 'Platforms, open/user innovation, and ecosystems: A strategic leadership perspective', Advances in strategic management 37, Working paper 17-076, Harvard Business School.


  • Research publication
  • Other
  • Yes
  • professional services, transport, accommodation
  • On-location platform-determined routine work, Online contestant specialist work
  • Threadless, IdeaStorm, Uber, Airbnb
  • work organisation, client characteristics
  • English
  • Harvard Business School (Research institute)
  • Qualitative research
  • 2017
  • Subscription
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