Collaboration FINDER and TechQuartier for the project ’Financial Big Data Cluster’

The success of the safeFBDC depends on our understanding of the underlying mechanisms (and technologies) which determine its modes of operation. While the liability study already has shed light on the IT infrastructure the underlying mechanisms of interaction between participants have not been fully outlined yet. Identifying and understanding these would help to leverage and manage relevant partners. Since such a project lives on from its members, the collaboration between TechQuartier and FINDER contributes directly to the long-term success of the safeFBDC.

“If we are to make strategic sense of innovation communities, ecosystems, networks, and their implications for competitive advantage, we propose that a new approach to strategy [called] ’open strategy’ is needed.”Chesbrough and Appleyard, 2007: 58[1]

An important underlying idea of innovation is its reliance on competition and thus the intertwined nature of both innovative and competitive behaviour.[2][3][4][5] While this idea has prevailed for a long time the predominance of competition has been slowly losing ground to the idea of cooperation.[6] In that light the concept of business ecosystems gains in prominence in both research as well as its application in business. Before diving into the underlying mechanisms of ecosystems we first should line out what we can understand under such a concept.

Back in school ecology taught us that ecosystems are systems of living and non-living interacting components within the same environment. So how can we apply that concept to business? An innovative reader (as innovation is also the application of an established idea to a new context[7]) may think about something in the line of the following:

“Business ecosystems are a network of firms with differing interests bound together as a collective whole such that the fate of its members is bound to the structure of that network and the roles played by its members.”Tan, Tan & Oh, 2007: 2[8]

In case of the safeFBDC the set of goals, its mission defined by its value proposition, binds together the consortium. The distinction is an open approach of formulating the mission – in other words their strategizing. That openness allows cooperation, a joint engagement in a strategy process of different organizations instead of their competition.[9] Following the literature, we can therefore define the safeFBDC as an ecosystem-as-structure.[10] For such structural approaches of ecosystems a keynode member with central positioning is of importance.[11] Such keynode members, already generally addressed in a blogpost by my colleague James, have three major tasks.

  1. They consolidate disperse resources & capabilities, as e.g. knowledge, of members.
  2. They engineer processes to initiate and grow the ecosystem.
  3. They oversee the creation and extraction of value for members.[12]

Therefore, the first research project to be conducted will be to identify if and how the TechQuartier is fulfilling the role of an orchestrator for the safeFBDC. A network analysis will be conducted in the first step. The results – the existing ties within the ecosystem – coupled with the second step, a cluster analysis of the activities carried out, should therefore determine the TechQuartiers role as orchestrator.

With that in mind we can have a look on how the mode of operation leads to the realization of the projects objectives, namely the development of AI applications. Instead of competition the project allows the collaboration in the provisioning and usage of shared, aggregated and uniformly formatted, cross-sectoral financial data. Such a concept of open strategy offers advantages for both affiliated producers and consumers.[13] Typically benefits for producers are lowered development and launch costs, quality improvement due to a joined development environment and increased speed to market. This, in turn, translates into the benefits of consumers since the reduced costs are reflected in the price (up to being open source) as well as a direct incorporation of feedback and implementation of specifications in the development cycle.[14] Since for the safeFBDC participants are often both – provider and user of data – an open strategy, triggered by the access to data, is of high functionality.

However, there also loom disadvantages which need to be tackled. In my GAIA-X post I already highlighted the loss of established business models and hence value appropriation. Accordingly, participants engaging in cooperation within an ecosystem have to find new ways to appropriate value within the value chain to generate profit.[15][16] Data monetarisation therefore is a research object of special interest to us. Hence, building on our first research project we will investigate how the TechQuartier, in its role of orchestrator, can determine and govern a value appropriation regime.

Together, Luisa Kruse and me are looking forward to report on our progress on both research projects in the upcoming months.

– Jonas Geisen, ESR

[1] Chesbrough, H. W., & Appleyard, M. M. (2007). Open innovation and strategy. California management review, 50(1), 57-76.

[2] This is based on Schumpeters (1934, 1939, 1950) work who expected that innovative behaviour is based on the profit expectations during the growth of an industry as the major determinants of a firms growth.

[3] Schumpeter, J. A., & Nichol, A. J. (1934). Robinson’s economics of imperfect competition. Journal of political economy, 42(2), 249-259.

[4] Schumpeter, J. A. (1939). Business cycles (Vol. 1, pp. 161-174). New York: McGraw-Hill.

[5] Schumpeter, J. A. (1950). The march into socialism. The American Economic Review, 40(2), 446-456.

[6] McKinsey and Company, 2015, Global Media Report

[7] Martín‐de Castro, G., López‐Sáez, P., Delgado‐Verde, M., Quintane, E., Casselman, R. M., Reiche, B. S., & Nylund, P. A. (2011). Innovation as a knowledge‐based outcome. Journal of knowledge management.

[8] Tan, F. T., Ondrus, J., Tan, B., & Oh, J. (2020). Digital transformation of business ecosystems: Evidence from the Korean pop industry. Information Systems Journal, 30(5), 866-898.

[9] Gooyert, V. D., Rouwette, E. A. J. A., & van Kranenburg, H. L. (2019). Interorganizational strategizing.

[10] Adner, R. (2017). Ecosystem as structure: An actionable construct for strategy. Journal of management, 43(1), 39-58.

[11] Spigel, B. (2017). The relational organization of entrepreneurial ecosystems. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 41(1), 49-72.

[12] Dhanaraj, C., & Parkhe, A. (2006). Orchestrating innovation networks. Academy of management review, 31(3), 659-669.

[13] Chesbrough, H. W., & Appleyard, M. M. (2007). Open innovation and strategy. California management review, 50(1), 57-76.

[14] Appleyard, M. M., & Chesbrough, H. W. (2017). The dynamics of open strategy: from adoption to reversion. Long Range Planning, 50(3), 310-321.

[15] Hautz, J., Seidl, D., & Whittington, R. (2017). Open strategy: Dimensions, dilemmas, dynamics. Long Range Planning, 50(3), 298-309.

[16] Chesbrough, H., Heaton, S., & Mei, L. (2020). Open innovation with Chinese characteristics: a dynamic capabilities perspective. R&D Management.

The same procedure as all the time? The potential of digital financial business models to change our decisions for better

Whereas FinTechs and digital financial applications are labeled “disruptive forces” and “game changers” shaking up the existing world of finance and beyond within industry and even politics, academics tend to hold the view that by a bare change of the platform or transaction setting of our financial decisions, existing theoretical frameworks are not challenged too intensively.

However, not only does digitalization allow for more collaboration – between humans, distributed humans as well as between humans and technological entities – but also for different ways of collaboration. Imagine you consider buying Apple stocks in four different situations:

i) Analyzing your finances, you consider you are liquid enough now to invest and Apple seems a solid start for that. You open your online depot and fulfil the transaction.

ii) When opening your interactive depot, you just saw your boss sold his 120 Apple stocks just a minute ago. You still continue your transaction?

iii) When opening your online depot which you share with your baseball mates, you need to get the majority of them on board before the buying trade is possible. Do you consider researching a bit more? Are your mates going to agree to this transaction?

iv) While surfing on your phone, a push-up from your online trader pops up – their chatbot informs you it is a good time to buy Apple stocks now. Do you follow this advice on the go?

Considering these, a mere selection of possible scenarios of a trading situation, it becomes obvious that human financial decisions are shaped through contact, if online or offline, direct or indirect, if in the form of advice, communication or the pure existence of a social group within which an individual makes a decision. Keeping in mind the vast financial and strategic decision-making literature on nudges with the numerous examples of how framing a decision context changes our decisions, FinTech applications with their diverse setups, designs and defaults are definitely worth having a second glance from an academic perspective. FinTech applications give a new angle to financial decision-making transforming the way of collaboration. Does online and task-related communication such as in a collaborative investment app free individuals from halo effects? Does advice from AI remove or strengthen critical thinking? It remains the joint task of practitioners and academics to understand and design these applications as frames for inclusive, unbiased decisions so that research can serve its purpose – society.

by Barbara Voelkl, FINDER ESR