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From knowledge to business ecosystems: emergence of an entrepreneurial activity during knowledge replication

Abstract

Our article emphasizes the relationship between knowledge and business ecosystems. Transformation of a knowledge ecosystem can lead to the emergence of a technological platform embodying a business ecosystem and providing the resources required especially for firm startup. The role of knowledge replication in an innovation ecosystem is identified through exploratory research and a qualitative case study in the technology hotspot of Sophia-Antipolis. Our findings provide evidence of a new technological trajectory in near-field communication ecosystems resulting from a radical transformation of traditional knowledge ecosystems. We show that the role of a knowledge filter is reduced by some public actors and universities acting as the “tenant anchor” and accelerating the replication of knowledge, and the resolution of intellectual property rights issues in emergent business ecosystems. We highlight the critical role of a public actor in enabling the emergence and creation of a business ecosystem, and its involvement in this entrepreneurial activity.

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Notes

  1. “Entrepreneurship facilitates the spill over of knowledge in the form of starting a new firm” (Braunerhjelm et al., 2010: 107).

  2. NFC is a standards-based short-range (less than 3 cm) wireless communication (unlicensed 13.56 MHz radio frequency) technology to enable half or full duplex applications. It offers a general-purpose connection to other wireless devices (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPRS, etc.) and can be used with several other devices (RFID tags, smart cards, etc.) for communication.

  3. TSM is a NFC ecosystem, a neutral broker that sets up business agreements and technical connections with mobile network operators, phone manufacturers, and other entities controlling the secure element on mobile phones. TSM enables service providers to distribute and manage their contactless applications remotely by allowing access to the secure element in NFC-enabled handsets.

  4. Several other companies are official project participants: Ardis, CEV Group, Constructive Card, Digital Airways, Monext, High Co, Netinf, NXP, Oberthur T. In this research, we interviewed only project partners which are stakeholders in the work package related to the development of a mobile application for secure data storage and transfer over a NFC reader and in which UNS was an active player.

  5. These categories required coding technologies or functionalities used at the beginning of the projects and resulting from innovation (cf. Appendix 1 Table 3). The codes allowed us to identify knowledge that was combined and replicated from one project to the next (cf. Table 2 and appendix 1 Table 3).

  6. To be precise, the plastic UNS student card includes a micro-payment function for use in the university canteen. This offer is the result of a partnership between Moneo, UNS, and the Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires (CROUS).

  7. With other NFCampus members, knowledge sharing was within a collaborative arrangement specifying that members should provide temporary access through a free license (limited to the duration of the project) to all the patented technologies (see Annex 1 Table 3).

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Correspondence to Amel Attour.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 3 Technologies recombined and changed during the NFC projects

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Attour, A., Lazaric, N. From knowledge to business ecosystems: emergence of an entrepreneurial activity during knowledge replication. Small Bus Econ 54, 575–587 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-018-0035-3

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Keywords

  • Knowledge ecosystem
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Technological platform
  • Knowledge replication
  • Academic actor

JEL classification

  • L26
  • L21
  • L86
  • M13
  • M21
  • O21
  • O32