Strategies for Innovation in Technology Ecosystems and Platforms

Course offered by: Prof. Dr. Markus Beckmann (kommissarisch)
Offering University: Uni Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)
Course Language: English
Subject Area: Economic Sciences Free of Charge
Average Workload: 22 Hours Free of Charge Enrol
Picture Credits: Jeanette Niqué

What awaits you in this course?

This course aims to teach managers to make strategies for innovation in technology ecosystems and platforms. Specifically, we focus on mastering the creation of such ecosystems and platforms. The concept of technology ecosystems draws on evolutionary economics which, inspired by evolutionary biology and ecology, treats the economy like a complex system where technologies and companies cooperate and compete to survive in an evolving environment. Evolution is, indeed, a process of continuous change. According to this perspective, companies behave like living organisms that compete for scarce resources in dynamic environments. Companies change to adapt to the environment as do biological organisms. In response to changing external conditions, strategies of the companies in the system coevolve, so that innovation in one company produces change in others, leading to new ecosystem configurations.

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What can you learn in this course?

Create strategies
Students should leave the course better prepared for the business landscape of today. The goal is not for students to only ace the tests, but to create real strategies and innovations that foment the success of Bavarian and global technology ecosystems.

Conceptual understanding
Students will thus learn theories and frameworks that enable them to contextualize new business challenges and select adequate strategies for innovation in technology ecosystems and platforms.

Practical application
Theoretical frameworks are however of no use if they are not implemented. Therefore, students learn through practical case studies how to apply the frameworks in different situations. They are also made aware of common pitfalls and obstacles that meet managers in the context of technology ecosystems.

Tested skills
The course hence provides skills in managerial strategy- and decision-making which are practiced through the case-based tests, where students need to identify the appropriate strategy to follow.

Continued learning
In addition to the main content goals of this course, students will also develop their learning skills. Through video discussion of management texts, students get accustomed to managerial language and will later be able to follow international managerial discussions, both in person and in text.


In this introduction, we build student motivation by explaining the objectives and take-aways of the course. We also introduce the contents and methodology, and revise some key concepts of strategy and innovation that serve as basic building blocks for the subsequent topics.

We discuss different types of platforms for business and innovation, and explain the catalytic thinking that is behind successful platforms. We tie in with the learnings of the previous topic to discuss who benefits from platforms from a global, ethical perspective.

Blue ocean strategy is a key tool for understanding how to create new technology ecosystems, or new niches in existing ecosystems. We teach how to innovate on the ecosystem level, and tie back to previous topics in understanding how to develop stable, profitable opportunities. We use a wide array of examples of innovations that have generated new market space.

The dynamism of the company environment partly depends on the company itself. In this topic, we explain concepts for managers who want to drive change in their ecosystem. We explain how companies generate first-mover advantage, sometimes giving them the opportunity to establish a dominant design, and we look at the many traps and difficulties managers will meet along the way.

Course offered by

Prof. Dr. Markus Beckmann (kommissarisch)

Further authors

Dr. Petra A. Nylund is a researcher, consultant, and teacher of strategy and innovation. She holds a Ph.D. in Management from IESE and an M.Sc. in Engineering and Business Management from KTH, Stockholm. After her Ph.D., she was a postdoctoral fellow at EADA Business School, Barcelona and an assistant professor at the University of Vic from 2014 to 2018, funded by the local Ausa Futur Program for Attracting International Talent. Petra Nylund has received several research grants for developing her research and has participated in two projects funded by the European Commission. Her work has been published in leading journals such as Technovation, The Leadership Quarterly, and Journal of Knowledge Management. She has created strategies as a business consultant and corporate development manager in the telecoms industry of Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

The OPEN vhb course “Strategies for Innovation in Technology Ecosystems and Platforms” was created by Dr. Petra A. Nylund in collaboration with the Chair of Technology Management at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.

From December 2016 to December 2019 Prof. Dr. Alexander Brem held the Chair of Technology Management at FAU University. On January 1st, 2020 Prof. Dr. Brem accepted a call to the University of Stuttgart.

Target group

The recent digitalization of technologies and the subsequent dynamization of the market place calls for innovation strategies never seen before. Multinationals, SMEs and entrepreneurs all need to understand their technology ecosystem and create strategies on the ecosystem level, not on the level of the individual company. Often, finding your role in an ecosystem is more important than the most unique strategy a company can develop on its own. Entrepreneurs need to detect and anticipate the strategies of large distribution platforms to innovate with, and not against, the technologies they depend upon.

The strategies necessary to triumph in this dynamic innovation context are interactive and adaptive, and very much differ from the static positioning we taught only a decade ago. This course therefore targets three main audiences:

Firstly, we cater to managers in companies of any size and industry with advanced university degrees. What we have learned at the university twenty, ten, and sometimes only five years ago is no longer valid in the new digital landscape. The course updates their theoretical knowledge of innovation strategy and prepares managers for the challenges they meet today.

Secondly, we reach out to managers and policy makers with less formal education. The practical approach of the course, largely based on real business cases, ties in with managerial experience and helps decision makers make sense of their current situation as well as prepare for future endeavors.

Thirdly, the course can be used also by new students of strategy and innovation, who then use the business cases not to reflect their own experience, but to create a simulated experience which will help them make decisions and approach strategic dilemmas when encountered in their future business careers.

Confirmation of participation

In order to receive a "certificate of participation" for this course you need to solve 50% of the interactive tasks and questions. The certificate will be generated automatically and does not embrace a grade or credit points.


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Innovation Strategies, Management, Technology Ecosystems, Platforms