PhD Defence Ainara Novales

In her dissertation 'Thriving with Digitized Products: How firms leverage their generative capacity via experimentation, learning, and collaboration' Ainara explored how firms leverage the generative capacity of their digitized products to generate value from their digitized products’ potentials (i.e., affordances). Ainara has defended her dissertation on Friday, 11 February 2022 at 13:00. Her supervisors were Prof. Eric van Heck (RSM) and Prof. Martin Mocker (Reutlingen University). Other members of the Doctoral Committee were Prof. Ting Li (RSM), Dr. Dirk Deichmann (RSM), Prof. Jan Dul (RSM), Prof. Jan vom Brocke (University of Liechtenstein), Dr Nicola Bilstein (University of Bielefeld), and Prof. Andrea Carugati (Aarhus University).

About Ainara Novales

Ainara Novales Uriarte was born in Barakaldo, Spain, on March 7, 1990. From 2008 to 2012, she studied Industrial Organization Engineering at Mondragon University in Spain. In 2014, she received her MSc degree in Operations and Innovation Management from Aalborg University, Denmark. After working 1.5 years as a Production Engineer at Feinmetall GmbH in Germany, in June 2016 Ainara started her PhD in the department of Technology and Operations Management under the supervision of Eric van Heck and Prof.dr. Martin Mocker (Reutlingen University, Germany and MIT CISR, USA). During her PhD studies, Ainara has also been a research assistant at ESB Business School in Reutlingen, Germany.

Ainara investigates the impact of digitization of products and services. Her research interests include the Internet of Things, Business Model Innovation, Digital Transformation and Platform Ecosystems. She has presented her worked at various international conferences, including the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), the Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), and INFORMS Annual Meeting. She has also served as a reviewer for MISQ Executive and various IS conference proceedings. During her PhD studies, Ainara has been an instructor in the Research Training and Bachelor Thesis Course at RSM, given guest lectures at ESB Business School on Multisided Platforms, and supervised multiple theses in the MSc Business Information Management at RSM. Since October 2021, Ainara works as a management consultant at adesso SE.

Thesis Abstract

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.

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Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images