From knowledge to business ecosystems: emergence of an entrepreneurial activity during knowledge replication

  • Amel Attour
  • Nathalie Lazaric


Our article emphasizes the relationship between knowledge and business ecosystems. Transformation of a knowledge ecosystem can lead to the emergence of a technological platform embodying a business ecosystem and providing the resources required especially for firm startup. The role of knowledge replication in an innovation ecosystem is identified through exploratory research and a qualitative case study in the technology hotspot of Sophia-Antipolis. Our findings provide evidence of a new technological trajectory in near-field communication ecosystems resulting from a radical transformation of traditional knowledge ecosystems. We show that the role of a knowledge filter is reduced by some public actors and universities acting as the “tenant anchor” and accelerating the replication of knowledge, and the resolution of intellectual property rights issues in emergent business ecosystems. We highlight the critical role of a public actor in enabling the emergence and creation of a business ecosystem, and its involvement in this entrepreneurial activity.


Knowledge ecosystem Entrepreneurial opportunities Technological platform Knowledge replication Academic actor 

JEL classification

L26 L21 L86 M13 M21 O21 O32 


  1. Acs, Z., Audretsch, D., Braunerhjelm, P. & Carlsson, B. (2003). The missing link: the knowledge filter and endogenous growth, Working paper presented at the Druid summer conference 2003 on Creating, sharing and transferring knowledge. Copenhagen, Denmark, June 12–14.Google Scholar
  2. Acs, Z. J., Braunerhjelm, P., Audretsch, D. B., & Carlsson, B. (2009). The knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship. Small Business Economics, 32(1), 15–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Agarwal, R., & Shah, S. K. (2014). Knowledge sources of entrepreneurship: firm formation by academic, user and employee innovators. Research Policy, 43(7), 1109–1133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alvarez, S. A., Barney, J. B., & Anderson, P. (2013). Forming and exploiting opportunities: the implications of discovery and creation processes for entrepreneurial and organizational research. Organization Science, 24(1), 301–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Antonelli, C., Krafft, J., & Quatraro, F. (2010). Recombinant knowledge and growth: the case of ICTs. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 21, 50–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Attour, A. (2014). Quel leader et business model ouvert pour les écosystèmes-plateformes de type NFC. Management & Avenir, 73, 33–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Attour, A., & Della Peruta, M. (2014). Architectural knowledge: key flows and processes in designing an inter-organizational technological platform. Knowledge Management Research & Practice.
  8. Arrow, K. (1962). The economic implementation of learning by doing. Review of Economics and Statistics., 80, 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Audretsch, D. B., & Feldman, M. (1996). R&D Spillovers and the geography of innovation and production. The American Economic Review., 86(3), 630–640.Google Scholar
  10. Baldwin, C., & Woodward, C. J. (2009). The architecture of platforms: a unified view. In A. Gawer (Ed.), Platforms, markets and innovation (pp. 19–44). London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  11. Basole, R. (2009). Visualization of interfirm relations in a converging mobile ecosystem. Journal of Information Technology. (00), 1–16.Google Scholar
  12. Becker, M., & Lazaric, N., (2003). The influence of knowledge in the replication of routines. Economie Appliquée. Tome LVI (3), 65–94.Google Scholar
  13. Bourdon, I., & Bourdil, M., (2007). Récompenses et gestion des connaissances, des liens complexes. La revue des Sciences de Gestion. n°226-227, 165–171.Google Scholar
  14. Boudreau, K, Lakhani, K., (2009), How to Manage outside innovation: competitive markets or collaborative communities?.MIT Sloan Management Review. 50(.4), 69–75.Google Scholar
  15. Braunerhjelm, P., Acs, Z. J., Audretsch, D. B., & Carlsson, B. (2010). The missing link: knowledge diffusion and entrepreneurship in endogenous growth. Small Business Economics., 34, 105–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Camison, C., & Forés, B. (2011). Knowledge creation and absorptive capacity: the effect of intra-district shared competences. Scandinavian Journal of Management., 27, 66–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarysse, B., Wright, M., Bruneel, J., & Mahajan, A. (2014). Creating value in ecosystems: crossing the chasm between knowledge and business ecosystems. Research Policy, 43, 1164–1176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Einsenmann, T. R., Parker, G., & Van Alystyne, M. W. (2009). Opening platforms: how, when and why? In A. Gawer (Ed.), Platforms, markets and innovation (pp. 131–162). Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  19. Eisenhardt, K., & Galunic, D. C. (2000). Coevolving at last a way to make synergies work. Harvard Business Review., 78, 91–101.Google Scholar
  20. Gawer, A. (2010). The organization of technological platforms. Research in the Sociology of Organizations., 29, 287–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gawer, A. (2014). Bridging differing perspectives on technological platforms: toward an integrative framework. Research Policy, 43(7), 1239–1249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gawer, A., & Cusumano, M. A. (2012). Industry platforms and ecosystem innovation. Conference DRUID 2012. Copenhagen: CBS.Google Scholar
  23. Iansiti, M., & Levien, R. (2004). The keystone advantage: what the new dynamics of business ecosystems mean for strategy, innovation, and sustainability. Boston: HBS Press.Google Scholar
  24. Isckia, T., & Lescop, D. (2009). Open Innovation within business ecosystems: a tale from Communications & Strategies. 74 (2nd quarter 2009), 37–54.
  25. Koenig, G. (2013). Business ecosystem revisited. In L. S. Ben (Ed.), Understanding business ecosystems (pp. 69–84). Paris: De Boeck.Google Scholar
  26. Lazaric, N., Longhi, C., & Thomas, C. (2008). Gatekeepers of knowledge versus platforms of knowledge: from potential to realized absorptive capacity. Regional Studies., 42(6), 837–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miranda, S., Pastorelly, N., Ishkina, E., Torre, D., & Chaix, L. (2011). Lessons inferred from NFC mobiquitous innovative information service. RTSI- Ingénierie des systèmes d’information., 16(04), 15–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McKelvey, M. (2016). Firms navigating through innovation spaces: a conceptualization of how firms search and perceive technological, market and productive opportunities globally. Journal of Evolutionary Economics., 26(4), 785–802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. The Academy of Management Review, 23, 242–266.Google Scholar
  30. Oh, D. S., Philips, F., Park, S., & Lee, E. (2016). Innovation ecosystems: a critical examination. Technovation, 54(August 2016), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pastorelly, N., Benouali, H., Leblanc, C., Miranda, S., & Attour, A. (2011). Nice Futur Campus, un bouquet de services NFC dans une carte virtuelle étudiant. RTSI- Ingénierie des systèmes d’information, 16(04/2011), 63–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Powell, W. W., Packalen, K., & Whittington, K. (2012). Organizational and institutional genesis: the emergence of high-tech clusters in the life sciences. In J. Padgett & W. W. Powell (Eds.), The emergence of organizations and markets (pp. 434–464). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Saviotti, P. P. (1996). Technology evolution, variety and the economy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  34. Saviotti, P. P., de Looze, M. A., & Maupertuis, M. A. (2005). Knowledge dynamics, firm strategy, mergers and acquisitions in the biotechnology based sectors. Economics of Innovation and New Technology., 14, 103–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Szulzanski, G., Cappetta, R., & Jensen, J. R. (2004). When and how trustworthiness matters: knowledge transfer and the moderating effect of causal ambiguity. Organization Science., 15, 600–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tsvetkova, A., & Gustafsson, M. (2012). Business models for industrial ecosystems: a modular approach. Journal of Cleaner Production., 29-30, 246–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Van de Ven, A. H., & Huber, G. P. (1990). Longitudinal field research methods for studying processes of organizational change. Organization Science., 1(3), 213–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Weitzman, M. L. (1996). Hybridizing growth theory. American Economic Review, 86, 207–212.Google Scholar
  40. Winter, S. G. (2016). The place of entrepreneurship in “The Economics that Might Have Been”. Small Business Economics., 47(1), 15–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yin, R. L. (1989). Application of case study research. Applied social research series, second edition, 34. Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  42. Zahra, S. A., & Nambisan, S. (2012). Entrepreneurship and strategic thinking in business ecosystems. Business Horizons., 55(3), 219–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Côté d’Azur, CNRS, GREDEGSophia Antipolis CedexFrance

Personalised recommendations