Thriving with Digitized Products: How firms leverage their generative capacity via experimentation, learning, and collaboration Defended on Friday, 11 February 2022

The increasing popularity of digitized products – also referred to as smart products, IoT products, or smart, connected products – has radically transformed the way organizations generate value with their products and offerings. The limitless recombination of digitized products’ unique attributes (e.g., connectivity, re-programmability) affords novel potentials for innovation and value creation and provides digitized products with a generative trait, as producers and actors continue to add and/or change digitized products’ functionality. This generative trait challenges the assumptions of prior studies on innovation management regarding the boundaries and centralized agency of innovation. Taking a socio-technical view and using affordance and generativity as theoretical lenses, this dissertation explores how firms leverage the generative capacity of their digitized products to generate value from their digitized products’ potentials (i.e., affordances). The first study focuses on the affordance actualization process, exploring how fi rms embrace organizational learning (via the implementation of feedback loops) to deal with the dynamism and uncertainty of digitized product potentials’ actualization. The second study looks at the affordance outcomes generation process – an understudied process in affordance theory – to understand what it takes for fi rms to realize desired outcomes (i.e., value) from actualized affordances. The third study explores the role of using low-code– which as implied by its name represents a software development approach that requires little to no coding skills to build applications – to fuel innovation with digitized products’ potentials. The results suggest that implementing a test-and-learn approach by integrating continuous feedback and facilitating experimentation and collaboration across different stakeholders involved in the product development are key for successfully generating value with digitized products’ generative potentials.


Digitized products; internet of things; smart products; digital innovation; affordance theory; low-code; low-code development platforms; test-and-learn

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