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Conference Papers Year : 2020

Understanding Platform Ecosystems for Development: Enabling Innovation in Digital Global Public Goods Software Platforms

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Scott Russpatrick
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Abstract

Purpose - While the potential of digital platforms for socio economic development is recognized, limited knowledge exists on the development of these platforms beyond the literature that is focused on commercial for-profit business models in the Global North. Platforms that host application ecosystems have the most potential for value creation for the platform owner and all users. However, little is understood about how public-sector platform owners can enable the creation of application ecosystems where traditional economic incentives for 3rd party, generic application development are not so explicit. Drawing on case study data drawn from the recent proliferation of third-party applications in the district health information software (DHIS2) digital platform, the authors propose themes influencing the innovation by 3rd party application developers for a digital global public goods (DGPG).Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws on a study of the DHIS2 that is implemented in over 80 countries globally. The platform operates a free and open source (FOSS) philosophy, has a core application that can be downloaded for free, and an app hub containing supplementary, generic 3rd party developed applications. The platform core is supported by University of Oslo and major international donor organizations to support its implementation in contrast to the business models of commercial digital platforms that require explicit monetization. Following a thematic analysis case study methodology, this paper investigates the motivators of complementors to create innovative apps thus creating a virtuous cycle of value generation for the platform.Findings - The data reveal that there are three themes that exist in the decisions by 3rd-party developers to produce generic applications within the DHIS2 platform; boundary resources, networks for innovation, and enlightened self-interest. Working in concert, these themes influence the complementor to create a generic application that can be applied across thousands of DHIS2 databases and generate value for the platform and all users equitably.Originality/value - This paper offers a new theoretical perspective to illuminate the motivators for contributors to digital innovation platforms for development. In parallel, it draws practical implications for public-sector and DGPG platform owners seeking to develop application economies.
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Dates and versions

hal-03450728 , version 1 (26-11-2021)

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Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Scott Russpatrick. Understanding Platform Ecosystems for Development: Enabling Innovation in Digital Global Public Goods Software Platforms. IFIP Joint Working Conference on the Future of Digital Work: The Challenge of Inequality (IFIPJWC), Dec 2020, Hyderabad, India. pp.148-162, ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-64697-4_12⟩. ⟨hal-03450728⟩
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