Ecosystem Insights

The interest in innovation ecosystems has increased significantly in recent years. Companies, knowledge institutes and government have become eager to get a better understanding of the functioning of innovation ecosystems. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the nature of innovation ecosystems and how best use can be made of them. 

We therefore decided to interview leaders in the field who actually work in and with innovation ecosystems on a daily basis. The lessons and approaches they share with us represent a wealth of insights, relevant in many ways: 

  • offering practical guidance to companies on how to get engaged in innovation ecosystems;
  • discussing principles for designing an ecosystem policy;
  • bringing forward way how to organize the interface between knowledge institutions and companies.
Examples from various innovation hotspots in the world, cases from different sectors and actors with different backgrounds offer a truly unique insight into the fascinating world of innovation ecosystems.  

photo by jannoon028 –


We can imagine that the interviews have triggered your ambitions to make best use of your ecosystem(s). In case you are curious to find out how we can support you in realizing that ambition, please contact us to discuss the possibilities!

Interested in using our interviews?

  • Ecosystem Insights is a rich, online collection of interviews with an impressive, global line-up of experts from the field
  • If you wish to use any of our material, please contact us. Use without our prior, written consent is not allowed.

“The Ecosystem Insights project connects ecosystem experts in a global, online community”

The contents

The concept of innovation ecosystems.
There are many different images and definitions of what is meant by an innovation ecosystem. As far as we are concerned, not one description is right or wrong. Our experts share how they describe an innovation ecosystem.

Horizontal versus vertical connections.
Hiring parties to acquire knowledge or buy specialized solutions is of all times. In the case of vertical, transaction based relationships, one party is clearly the client and the other the contractor. In the case of horizontal relationships, it is more about finding common ambitions, for example in a consortium with several parties (companies and/or knowledge institutes). Keywords: pre-competitive, shared innovation, open innovation

This section is about how important it is to be close to the parties you work with. In recent years, we have seen the growing importance of campuses, business parks and innovation districts.

Digital connections
Besides physical proximity, digital connections play an important role. This has become even more evident by the COVID-19 pandemy. How important are these digital connections and how will it change the way we interact?

The role of start-ups / SMEs / MNCs
Startups, scale ups and corporates all play their own role in an innovation ecosystem. Is there a division of roles and how important is it that they are well connected? 

The catalyst
In many ecosystems there are also catalysts, such as cluster organizations (e.g. Foodvalley NL, FoodHQ or FoodTechHub Brazil). In the interviews, their role in ecosystems is discussed.

What is success or failure?
It turns out that the success of innovation ecosystems is described very differently by organizations. Here, our experts talk about when they consider an ecosystem to be a success or, for that matter, a failure. 

In good and in bad times: ecosystem agility
Agility is of crucial importance, both to individual organizations as well as ecosystems. We are therefore curious to learn from our experts how they perceive the ability to adapt to changing circumstances as an organization, but also as an innovation ecosystem