Cognitive Leadership, Systemic Innovation, and the Formation of Innovation Ecosystems

Nicolai J. Foss, Jens Schmidt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


We analyze how innovators facilitate and shape the formation of innovation ecosystems around a systemic innovation. We argue that the ability to engage in cognitive leadership--the ability to influence others' beliefs, in particular owners of complementary assets, in order to achieve coordination and cooperation--is central to the development of nascent innovation ecosystems. Our approach shifts the unit of analysis from the innovation and the underlying (eco)system to the beliefs about the innovation, the ecosystem (including interdependencies) and the different players. Our model is built on three elements: beliefs as targets for successful cognitive leadership, the mechanisms by which innovators can influence others' beliefs, and the enablers as underlying skills for cognitive leadership. We discuss implications of our analysis for our understanding of the formation of innovation ecosystems and the emergence of ecosystem leadership and also highlight managerial implications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonja Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022: Creating a Better World Together - Seattle, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022
Conference number: 82


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings


  • AOM annual meeting proceedings 2022
  • AOM seattle 2022

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