Best Paper Award 2020 of the Fraunhofer IMW

Business Ecosystems for Digital Servitization

Second place at the Best Paper Award of the Fraunhofer IMW

On February 4th, 2021 the winners of the Best Paper Award 2020 of the Fraunhofer IMW were selected. The second place went to Alexander Arzt, Research Fellow in the project Data Mining and Value Creation, with his paper “Business Ecosystems for Digital Servitization”. He had presented the paper at the Spring Servitization Conference 2020. 

Dear Mr. Arzt, congratulations on your second place in the Best Paper Award of the Fraunhofer IMW. What is your paper about?

Thank you very much. The paper is about relevant aspects of business ecosystems for the realization of digital offerings. The term “ecosystem” has become very popular in the economic context in recent years. However, it often remains unclear what exactly it means. In the paper, I therefore systematically analyzed the scientific literature on ecosystems and worked out which different perspectives and descriptions exist.

Collaboration with other players in ecosystems is becoming increasingly relevant for companies in the course of data-driven value creation. In this context, it is particularly important to understand the nature of ecosystems around digital platforms. The goal of this paper was to gather and relate significant aspects from the literature to describe and shape these ecosystems in the context of digital offerings.

To this end, I created a morphological box* that depicts possible manifestations of authoritative elements of ecosystems in five dimensions. These dimensions include the context of the ecosystem, the relationships of the actors involved, the role of the company within the ecosystem, established governance mechanisms, and ecosystem dynamics. The morphological box is designed to help analyze and describe ecosystems and identify specific ecosystem types.

*A morphological box combines the different dimensions of an issue so that new solutions can be found.


How does it fit into the larger context of the Data Mining and Value Creation project or research area?

The paper fits into the relatively young research strand “Digital Servitization”, which investigates how companies use digital technologies to improve services or create entirely new digital offerings as a mixture of product, service and software elements. These include, for example, applications for increasing the performance and efficiency of machines and systems as well as service contracts with availability or performance guarantees in which corresponding data-driven solutions for optimizing service activities are embedded.

Such complex offerings cannot usually be realized on their own, but require the cooperation of various companies. Here, digital platforms play a significant role in sharing investments, data and skills (e.g. for software development and data analysis) and organizing joint value creation in ecosystems. In this context, ecosystems can have very different characteristics depending on the goal and actors involved.

The paper and the morphological box developed in it will be further used in the Data Mining and Value Creation project to investigate ecosystems in the context of data-driven value creation, to compare them with each other and to identify patterns. In other words, we want to investigate which correlations exist between the various characteristics of ecosystems in practice in order to derive recommendations for action for companies and policymakers.


Do you already have plans for how you want to use the prize money?

I would like to use the prize money to further my education in the area of research methodology or in the area of data-driven value creation innovations. I am currently looking for suitable offers.


Science Colloquium

The three initiators of the Science Colloquium, Dr. Juliane Welz, Anna Pohle and Marie-Luise Kanbach, use the format to support scientists at the Fraunhofer IMW in their doctoral projects or other research activities. The regular exchange in the colloquium provides transparency on ongoing publications and improves the exchange among each other. In this way, the institute’s employees can learn from the experience of their colleagues. The Best Paper Award creates greater visibility for publications and rewards outstanding scientific work. The prize money for the winning papers, which are selected by a panel of internal and external experts, goes towards further training.


Best Paper Award 2020 of the Fraunhofer IMW

1st place

Dr. Karl Trela (co-authors Dr. Yuri Campbell, Dr. Friedrich Dornbusch, Anna Pohle): “How to Find New Industry Partners for Public Research: A Classification Approach”

2nd place 

Alexander Arzt (co-authors Dr. Sebastian Haugk, Prof. Dr. Heiko Gebauer): “Business Ecosystems for Digital Servitization”

3rd place 

Dr. Agnes Vosen (co-author Dr. Marija Radić): “Ethische, rechtliche und soziale Anforderungen an Assistenzroboter in der Pflege. Sicht des Führungspersonals in Kliniken und Pflegeeinrichtungen” (Ethical, legal and social requirements for assistant robots in nursing. The perspective of management personnel in clinics and care facilities)

Best Paper Award of the Fraunhofer IMW

»Business Ecosystems for Digital Servitization«

Science Colloquium of the Fraunhofer IMW

Better visibility for research activities