SmartPort Community Lunch meeting June 21st 2016

Speaker: Israel Fortin, post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Technology and Operations Management, RSM, Erasmus University
Location: T09-67, Mandeville Building
Time: 12.00-13.30

Many innovations today rely on technologies and assets that are systemic. Commercialization of innovations requires complementary technology, patents, investments, assets, knowledge, and skills. This is what the notion of “innovation ecosystem” encompasses. Three characteristics define an innovation ecosystem: the dependencies established among the members, a common set of goals and objectives, and a shared set of knowledge and skills (Nambisan & Baron, 2013). The innovation ecosystem of the Port of Rotterdam gathers firms providing upstream services bundled by the port, and downstream complementary services bundled by the port’s users, constraining the port’s ability to dispense services or constraining the users to derive full benefit from the port’s services. An important role of the Port of Rotterdam is thus to identify potential service provider bottlenecks, but also service consumption bottlenecks such as the difficulty to coordinate multiple delivery services while saving energy and kilometers.

In this context, innovation management may become more challenging for the innovation initiators when several users and ecosystem partners are involved (Gawer & Cusumano, 2014). Depending on external partners for your own success has important implications because resources will need to be allocated to these partners. This is the reason why some firms attempt to “plan out the full ecosystem, pick their position within it, and act with all haste to create and defend their role in delivering an integrated product or service to the end customer” (Adner, 2006). But doing so might overlook the process, and the order through which the ecosystem will evolve over time to best serve the end users, as opposed to simply creating additional entry barriers for other ports, for example by introducing increasingly larger carriers.

PdF of presentation


Israel Fortin studies identity and communication dynamics across levels of interaction in innovation networks and ecosystems. He holds a PhD in management from HEC Montreal where he investigated a research consortium in aerospace, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Technology and Operations at the Rotterdam School of Management where he studies the Port of Rotterdam community. His work will appear in the Scandinavian Journal of Management and in Technological Innovation Networks: Collaboration and partnership, the third volume of Contemporary Perspectives on Technological Innovation, Management and Policy.