Business ecosystems and the view from the future: The use of corporate foresight by stakeholders of the Ro-Ro shipping ecosystem in the Baltic Sea Region

Matthew J. Spaniol, Nicholas J. Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ecosystems are viewed as important sources of innovation. While contracts, rules, policies, and industrial standards have been identified as important for coordinating and aligning inter-firm relationships, tools for the collective, collaborative orchestration of ecosystems have yet to be fully identified and articulated by scholars. The core contribution of this paper, the authors contend, is that corporate foresight tools, as applied at the level of the ecosystem, have the potential to orchestrate ecosystems. To this end, the authors examine the practical use of corporate foresight tools, in this case, roadmapping and scenario planning, as employed by ECOPRODIGI, an Interreg Baltic Sea project designed to advance the EU's strategy for eco-efficient Sustainable Blue Economy in the Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping ecosystem. Results demonstrate how ecosystem-level foresight significantly differs from traditional foresight centered around a focal firm. Corporate foresight tools, as applied to an ecosystem: 1) Target a diverse set of ecosystem actors beyond the segment's focal firm, including complementary firms, investors, and non-market actors; 2) Engage ecosystem actors, rather than only the focal firm, in shared strategy development based on a diverse mix of foresight tools; and 3) serve to orient and reify the ecosystem by charting the collective anticipation of innovations, policies, etc., in a shared set of future options. In the end, the authors find that corporate foresight tools operate as constitutive elements of ecosystems, that is, the tools help enact the ecosystem not as an abstract concept but as a shared, lived reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121966
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume184
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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