The emergence of digital ecosystems : an exploratory case study
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis investigates the research question; What factors need to be in place for the emergence of a digital ecosystem and how can the key mechanisms evolve? The study is based on an explorative single case study of the establishment of a digital ecosystem surrounding welfare technology. Three respondents from the initiators of the digital ecosystem, one project leader on the demand side, and one respondent who is an expert within ecosystems and healthcare have been interviewed. We have utilized existing literature on ecosystems, digital ecosystems and key mechanisms within ecosystems to create a theoretical background, thus enabling us to illuminate the research question. Research on ecosystems and digital ecosystems is limited, but sufficient to establish a basic understanding of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, there is a gap between theory and empirical evidence, especially related to the emergence of ecosystems and how key mechanisms can evolve. Therefore, the digital ecosystem presents an interesting object of analysis. The findings reveal that there is an emergent stage before the birth of a digital ecosystem takes place. This embryonic stage is characterized by a complex problem and the need for an initiator to take action. The digital ecosystem emerges as a consequence to a complex problem, which necessitates a certain type of coordination. This coordination can be provided in ecosystems. Through the establishment process, we found architecture and governance to be of importance. These mechanisms are expected to develop sequentially, as the full digital ecosystem develops. Additionally, competitive forces become an issue as the ecosystem matures and other actors see potential profits. Parallel to these phases is the continuous process of involving stakeholders. This is crucial to attracting the right technologies, which in turn comprise the value proposition delivered to the customer. These topics displayed interesting mechanisms that are crucial for the emergence— and development of a digital ecosystem. The findings are significant because they illustrate that digital ecosystems will have different versions of these mechanisms, and the mechanisms affect issues such as openness, control, coordination and innovation.