Effectual application development on digital platforms

  • Alan HevnerEmail author
  • Onkar Malgonde
Position Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Design Science Research in the Networked Economy


The development of novel software applications on digital platforms differs radically from traditional software development. In this position paper, we posit that software development managers and teams face unique challenges in platform environments and require new development approaches to be successful. While traditional software development approaches have focused on achieving application-market match, platform-based applications must also achieve application-platform match, application-market match, value propositions exceeding platform’s core value propositions, and novelty. We argue that these desired properties support a new vision of the software development team as entrepreneurs. To support this positioning insight, we discuss the limitations of existing software development approaches and introduce an innovative approach for application development on digital platforms that is grounded in the theory of effectuation from the field of entrepreneurship. We investigate an existing application development environment (Apache Cordova) on digital platforms to see if the concepts of effectuation are present. The preliminary findings provide support for the promise of effectual development methods. We conclude with a call for innovative effectual methods of software development on digital platforms and an accompanying research agenda.


Digital platforms Software application development Effectuation Novelty 

JEL classification




We gladly acknowledge the contributions made to this research by Rosann Webb Collins, Diana Hechavarria, Matthew Mullarkey, Richard Will, and Balaji Padanabhan. Partial funding was received from the Gaiennie endowment in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Applied Informatics at University of Leipzig 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information Systems and Decision SciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Operations Management and Information Systems, College of BusinessNorthern Illinois UniversityIllinoisUSA

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