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Ecosystems Thinking and Modern Platform-Based Ecosystem Theory

Abstract The emergence of business ecosystems and platforms represents a very recent development that is having a significant impact upon traditional industries and product/service markets. The speed at which this new form of business model innovation has gained momentum has been largely the result of new technologies in the ICT sector such as the Internet (Web 1.0 and Web 2.0), the increasing digitisation (and dematerialisation) of products, the rapid diffusion of mobile communications, big data and cloud computing. This trend is set to continue with the roll out of the Internet-of-Things (IOT) and the increasing connectedness that will result from this.

Chapter 4 will define what is meant by the terms ecosystem and platform and evaluate a broad range of theories relating to these two highly inter-related concepts.

Keywords Ecosystem • Platform • Keystone • Platform stack • Co-evolution • Symbiosis

Introduction

The recent emergence of business ecosystems (Moore 1996) and platforms (Tiwana 2014; Choudary 2015; Parker et al. 2016) represents a very important development that is having a highly disruptive impact on traditional industries and product/service markets (Downes and Nunes 2013).

© The Author(s) 2017

N. Walton, The Internet as a Technology-Based Ecosystem, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-60077-6_4

The speed and exponential rate of growth of this phenomenon has largely been the result of new technologies in the ICT sector including the Internet (Web 1.0 and Web 2.0), the increasing digitisation and dematerialisation of products, the rapid diffusion of mobile communications as well as big data and cloud computing (Simon 2013). This trend is set to continue with the development of ‘deep’ technologies such as the industrial Internet (Internet-of-Things), artificial intelligence (AI) and the increasing connectedness that will result from this (Manyika, et al. 2015).

This chapter will provide an in-depth analysis of what is meant by the terms ecosystem and platform and evaluate a broad range of theories relating to these two highly inter-related concepts. This will build on and reinforce theories discussed in Chapter 2 relating to value networks and relationships as well as complexity and chaos theory covered in Chapter 3.

 
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