See Projects and Partners

Ecosystem as Advantage

To be successful in innovation and entrepreneurship requires to engage in close collaborations with a diversity of partners, such as start-ups, medium sized businesses, multinationals, knowledge institutes, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and consumers or citizens. To manage these multi-actor networks, organizations need to be able to build, develop and maintain their own ecosystems. However, this is a complex and resource-consuming task. Therefore, the better organizations develop ecosystem capabilities, the more effective and efficient their innovations. The NIKOS research on Innovation and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems seeks to better understand the mechanisms of ecosystem building and development to enable organizations to successfully create and sustain competitive advantages.

Research Projects

Ecosystem capabilities of local innovation experiment at innovation campuses in Netherlands

This is a current research project of PhD Jin Han on the effects of an organization’s ecosystem’s capabilities and the impact of an innovation campus’ supporting services on the success of local innovation experiment.

Local innovation experiments occur when a company as well as their innovation partners want to test the feasibility of new innovative products (services/processes) in local small-scale market before they become mature to go to mass market. Doing local innovation experiments is to know technical function, customers’ demands, and political/social stakeholders’ attitudes about the new innovative products (services).

Examples are (1) a new healthcare device for elderly people is tentatively used by local elderly citizens.


(2) a new solar energy solution for eco-consumers is tentatively used by local customers

(3) the newly-developed solar-enabled bikes are tentatively used by local Krommenie (Amsterdam) cyclists

(4) a new low-speed mobility mode is tentatively applied to Eindhoven customers

This research is now in the process of collecting survey data (2019 December - 2020 May).

Building and sustaining emerging ecosystems through new local ventures

This research examined the challenges and strategies that new ventures deploy to build their own new innovation ecosystem. The study explored four cases in the emerging Chinese bike-sharing industry (see following photos) and showed that new ventures are more successful when they engage in local innovation experiments, and interact from the start with actors in both economic environment (such as customers, suppliers and competitors) and the socio-political environment (such as NGO’s, governments and societal interest groups). The paper is currently under review of an international academic journal.

Dockless sharing bikes (new mode)

Sharing bike with fixed docks (traditional mode)

Entrepreneurship ecosystem as a complex adaptive system


This research is focused on how can an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (EE) uncover its complexity properties across different development stages to maintain its viability? To date, scholars have not fully explored the complexity nature of EEs. In view of this gap, through borrowed insights from CAS theory and an in-depth qualitative study of the Zhongguancun EE in China, this study identified six integrated complexity properties that were exhibited over time. The findings provide new empirical insights into EE agents’ nonlinear interactions, adaptive evolutionary dynamics, and multiscale governance boundaries. Additionally, findings highlight an EE’s adaptive process to sustain a balanced level of complexity to maintain its viability. By revealing the complexity nature of an EE from an emerging economy, this paper offers useful insights for policymakers to better promote and manage EE development. The paper is accepted for publication by Journal of Business Research, see the online version.

A flock of birds as a real-world example of a complex adaptive system:

The innovation campus: Key challenges and success factors in different stages of maturity


This study explores the specific characteristics of the emerging innovation campus concept and develops a maturity capability model. The model consists of four maturity stages and nine dimensions. The paper is presented at the Innovation and Product Development Conference (IPDMC) 2017 and can be found here.

Effectiveness of open innovation practices at innovation campuses

To support open innovation practices, innovation campus supporting offices organize all kinds of networking activities to promote collaboration and learning among their tenants and other organizations. But how effective are these practices? Two master students have examined the effectiveness of these open innovation practices. The master thesis of Tim Slijkhuis can be found here. 

Research Team

Prof. ir. Petra de Weerd-Nederhof
Dr. ir. Sandor Lowik
Dr. ir. Haibo Zhou
PhD researcher Jin Han