[BA/MA/PA] A representation of University Innovation Ecosystems


The concept of innovation ecosystems (IE) is used by scholars to describe highly interdependent business constellations (e.g. Iansiti and Levien, 2004;  Adner, 2016; Jacobides, Cennamo and Gawer, 2018). IE can be viewed as a industry-spanning structure based on a network of actors (Adner, 2016); For instance, based on geographical data (local industry clusters), based on technological interdependencies (e.g. the mobile industry), based on interests (research programs) and others. Universities tend to build such ecosystems around them; From local ones to global ones based on different factors and with a variety of intentions.


The task for this offering is to design a web-application (the artifact) that visualises the IE of universities. The basis are existing frameworks in the field of IE that provide the conceptual foundation for such an analysis.


For the purpose of developing this artifact a Design Science Research (DSR) (Hevner et al., 2004) approach is chosen that provides a structured process for designing such artifacts.

Your Contribution and Gains

Through this thesis you are directly contributing to frontier research in the field of innovation ecosystems (Jacobides, Cennamo and Gawer, 2018). You will learn about this emergent theory and about design science and the methods in this Field.



If you are interested, please contact me at julius.kirschbaum@fau.de and we can have a chat about the topic and the thesis process.



Adner, R. (2016) ‘Ecosystem as Structure: An Actionable Construct for Strategy’, Journal of Management, 43(1), pp. 39–58. doi: 10.1177/0149206316678451.

Adner, R. and Kapoor, R. (2010) ‘Value creation in innovation ecosystems: how the structure of technological interdependence affects firm performance in new technology generations’, Strategic Management Journal, 31(3), pp. 306–333. doi: 10.1002/smj.821.

Basole, R. C. (2009) ‘Visualization of Interfirm Relations in a Converging Mobile Ecosystem’, Journal of Information Technology, 24(2), pp. 144–159. doi: 10.1057/jit.2008.34.

Hevner, A. R. et al. (2004) ‘Design science in information systems research’, MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems, 28(1), pp. 75–105. doi: 10.2307/25148625.

Iansiti, M. and Levien, R. (2004) The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability. 1st edn. Harvard Business Press. Available at: https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/erlangen/reader.action?docID=5560206.

Jacobides, M. G., Cennamo, C. and Gawer, A. (2018) ‘Towards a theory of ecosystems’, Strategic Management Journal, 39(8), pp. 2255–2276. doi: 10.1002/smj.2904.