Digital platform ecosystems capitalize on the engagement of large groups of actors with diverse skills that create unexpected services, find novel uses, and move the ecosystem forward in unanticipated ways. The generativity concept captures this phenomenon, which some scholars regard as fundamental to our understanding of how digital innovation plays out. Despite such claims, it is unclear what generativity means and how it manifests itself. After scrutinizing the foundational definition, we delineate two per-spectives on generativity. The ‘generative properties’ perspective asks which properties of digital arti-facts embedded in social structure invite actors to set free their creativity and produce unanticipated outcomes. In contrast, the ‘generative patterns’ perspective asks which patterns of events lead to an evolutionary dynamic that produces unanticipated change. We find cues for both perspectives in litera-ture, which tentatively validates them. We then formulate a socio-technical model of digital platform ecosystems and describe ecosystem generativity by applying both perspectives. In this context, the first perspective highlights the digital platform and its controlling orchestrator, while the second perspective directs our attention to interactions among actors and artifacts. We conclude this paper by discussing how generativity can help explain digital innovation.
Eck, Alexander and Uebernickel, Falk, "UNTANGLING GENERATIVITY: TWO PERSPECTIVES ON UNANTICIPATED CHANGE PRODUCED BY DIVERSE ACTORS" (2016). Research Papers. 35.