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Business models dynamics and business ecosystems in the emerging 3D printing industry


  • Rong, Ke
  • Patton, Dean
  • Chen, Weiwei


This paper explores the relationships that exist between business models and ecosystems evolving in the 3D printing industry using qualitative evidence drawn from three countries: China, UK and USA. In particular, this research proposes that it is important to understand the process of business model dynamics and formulation and how the associated ecosystem evolves alongside this process to support its development. In studying the dynamics of business models in the 3D printing sector, this research identifies a three-stage process, ‘initiation’, ‘execution’ and ‘extension’, and suggests three capabilities that enable the development of the model, namely, ‘scalability’, ‘flexibility’ and ‘extensibility’. In addition, it is suggested that the structure of the business ecosystem (product based, platform based, or some combination) influences the potential impact that these capabilities can have on business model development. These findings have implications for those organisations seeking to develop business models and ecosystems around emerging technologies, for practitioners involved in the development and extension of business models, and for academics seeking to evaluate policy and practice within this field.

Suggested Citation

  • Rong, Ke & Patton, Dean & Chen, Weiwei, 2018. "Business models dynamics and business ecosystems in the emerging 3D printing industry," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 234-245.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:134:y:2018:i:c:p:234-245
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2018.06.015

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chammassian, Raffi Gabriel & Sabatier, Valerie, 2020. "The role of costs in business model design for early-stage technology startups," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    2. Kapoor, Kawaljeet & Ziaee Bigdeli, Ali & Dwivedi, Yogesh K. & Schroeder, Andreas & Beltagui, Ahmad & Baines, Tim, 2021. "A socio-technical view of platform ecosystems: Systematic review and research agenda," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 94-108.
    3. Phillips, Mark A. & Ritala, Paavo, 2019. "A complex adaptive systems agenda for ecosystem research methodology," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).

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