While the generativity of digital platform ecosystems has been studied extensively in many business-to-consumer domains, research on the novel phenomenon of IIoT platforms is sparse. The peculiarities of IIoT platform ecosystems are a double-edged sword: On the one hand, the heterogeneity of actors and devices leads to high generative potential. On the other hand, the resulting complexity can impede its realization. Even though generativity is often seen as a platform’s inherent characteristic, our study suggests that it must be driven deliberately in complex domains like the IIoT. As initial results of a theory elaboration case study, we propose two modes that drive generativity in the form of a virtuous cycle by moving from abstraction of individual solutions to concretization of generic modules and vice versa. Our final results will contribute to extant literature on generativity in complex digital platform ecosystems and provide valuable insights for practitioners in the IIoT domain.
Christian Marheine, Tobias Pauli