Dr Richard Tee
Academic and research departmentsFaculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Surrey Business School, Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Centre of Digital Economy.
Richard Tee is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) at Surrey Business School, where he is a member of the Department of Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Centre of Digital Economy (CoDE).
Before joining the University of Surrey he held academic positions at LUISS University in Rome, at EPFL in Lausanne, and gained his PhD at Imperial College London. His research focuses on how technologies and industries co-evolve and how firms can adapt to and influence these dynamics. He has focused in particular on the role digital platforms and the ecosystems that surround them. His research has been published in Research Policy, Industrial and Corporate Change, Complexity, European Management Review, and the International Journal of Management Reviews, as well as in various edited academic volumes on innovation and ecosystems.
He has won best paper awards at the Academy of Management (AOM) and Strategic Management Society (SMS) conferences and was a finalist for the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) / Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award. Using qualitative and quantitative data, he has examined a variety of settings including IT, telecoms, infrastructure, mobility, and construction. He has presented and organized symposia at leading academic conferences including the Academy of Management, DRUID, Schumpeter, and the Strategic Management Society. Before moving to academia he worked at an IT research and consulting institute in the Netherlands and at a digital startup focused on natural language search technology.
Areas of specialism
Affiliations and memberships
My research is situated at the intersection of strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, focusing on technological innovation and how this strategically shapes firm and industry level outcomes.
(1) Business Ecosystems and Digital Platforms
Increasingly, firm activity takes place in what has been referred to as “business ecosystems”, where value is created and captured through a value proposition that arises out of complementary inter-firm activities. This raises many strategic issues, such as where value is created, and which firm(s) are best positioned to capture value that the ecosystem creates. Ecosystems are often underpinned by digital platforms. Companies such as Facebook, Uber, and AirBnB are well known examples of digital platforms that have both created tremendous economic value, while also creating many challenges for a variety of stakeholders. My research focuses both on the firm-level opportunities and challenges these create for new entrants and incumbents. I am also interested in the broader issues raised by digital platforms, including public policy/regulation and broader geo-political trade-offs.
(2) Collaborative Innovation and Digital Transformation
Innovation is a key concern in fast moving industries. Given the high degree of complexity and uncertainty in such environments, such innovation is often pursued beyond the boundaries of a single firm. I am therefore interested in these forms of collaborative innovation, which include both alliances and other types of inter-firm collaboration, as well as project-based industries that bring together a wide variety of actors. Using qualitative and quantitative data, I focus on both opportunities and challenges brought about by these dynamics. My thesis on this theme was a finalist (one of three) for the EGOS/Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award, which recognizes innovative scholarship in management and organization. My work has focused on a variety of settings (smartphones, cloud computing, hard disk drives, telecoms, construction) and am involved in several other projects that examine industries affected by digital technologies (healthcare, media, legal services, transport, mobility), including the ways in which digital technologies can be harnessed to address sustainability and climate issues.
(3) Technology and industry co-evolution
I also examine the ways technologies and industries co-evolve, and the role that complexity plays. This includes work on the role of dominant designs and industry life cycles in the digital age, the role of generativity as a driver of innovation processes, and how complexity can be strategically managed in large scale complex projects.
- Strategies for project complexity, SSHRC Canada (collaborator, PI: S. Floricel), 2018
- An integrative theory of complex project development, SSHRC Canada (collaborator, PI: M. Aubry), 2018
- CTI Swiss Competence Centers for Energy Research, 2014 (grant on “Architectural Design Choices and their Impact on Innovation Ecosystems in the Energy Field”, with Christopher Tucci)
- Swiss Science Foundation, 2013 (grant on “Technological discontinuities: firm capabilities, entry mode and market performance in the disk drive industry”, with Anu Wadhwa and Christopher Tucci)
- EPSRC Fellowship Grant (awarded to <1% students throughout Imperial College London), 2011
- AOM Best Paper Proceedings (top 10% of papers accepted for AOM conference), AOM Anaheim 2016
- Winner Strategic Management Society “Best Conference Paper” (with P. Ozcan), Strategic Management Society Rome Special Conference, June 5-7, 2016
- Strategic Management Society - Finalist for Best PhD Paper (with B. Uzunca and D. Sharapov), 34th SMS Annual International Conference, Madrid, Sep 20 – 23, 2014
- Finalist Grigor McClelland Doctoral Dissertation Award, EGOS 2013 (One of three dissertations shortlisted)
- Strategic Management Society - Finalist for “Best Conference Paper” and “Practice Implications Award” (SMS Lake Geneva Special Conference, March 20-23, 2013)
- Full scholarship (Innovation Studies Centre, Imperial College Business School)
The construct of generativity is increasingly adopted to describe system innovation in digital contexts. We systematically review this construct, investigating its antecedents, processes and outcomes in management studies. We draw on different theoretical perspectives to develop an integrative conceptual framework. We argue that generativity is a sociotechnical system where social and technical elements interact to facilitate combinatorial innovation, and where generative fit and governance play a central role. Based on our bibliometric and qualitative analysis, we identify seven components of generativity: generative architecture, generative governance, generative community, generative fit, combinatorial innovation, generative outcomes and generative feedback. We integrate these components into a conceptual framework that describes the relationships among the components and how they collectively result in ecosystem innovation. We also elucidate future research directions for management scholars.
Collaboration in large-scale projects introduces challenges involving both coordination (the ability to collaborate) as well as cooperation (the willingness to do so). Existing research has shown how modular designs can improve coordination by locating interdependencies within rather than between different modules. Based on an in-depth case study of collaboration in a large-scale infrastructure project, our study highlights an effect of modularity on collaboration that previously has been overlooked. Specifically, we show that while modular designs may help overcome coordination challenges by reducing interdependencies between modules, they can in turn hamper collaboration by emphasizing specialization within modules. Therefore, though existing work typically perceives modularity and integration as opposites, we clarify how they can also act as complements. In particular, we show how firms need to complement modular designs with integrating practices that stimulate cooperation. Overall, we contribute to the literature on collaboration and modularity by explaining when and how organizations can combine modularity and integration.
Open governmental data available via platforms like data.gov have earned a place in the innovation agenda of governments and local authorities alike. To successfully make use of these sources, governments around the world experiment with competitive virtual contests or challenges to ignite the creativity of developers and hackers and motivate them to turn this data into novel digital applications. However, such efforts don’t seem to be sustainable. Applications developed in such contests regularly fail to ignite the continuous use by the end users. We argue that governments need to adopt an ecosystem perspective facilitating cocreation within the diverse open data innovation ecosystems of developers, producers, and users in order to foster the generativity needed for continuous value creation. However, various tensions among actors appear along the way. Taking a paradoxical view towards ecosystem tensions, we propose a socio-technical infrastructure that supports ecosystem generativity by addressing latent tensions in the “breeding zone” of an open data innovation. The infrastructure supports generative responses to these tensions in three ways: creating virtual trading zones, supporting the duality of stable and dynamic roles, and providing technological affordances for fluidity. This framework could set the stage for future research, encouraging system designers and policymakers to foster cocreation in open data innovation ecosystems.
What factors and processes drive value appropriation and value creation in interdependent industry ecosystems? This paper explores this issue through a case study comparing the deployment of the i-mode mobile Internet service in two countries, seeking the reasons behind its contrasting fortunes: spectacular success in Japan vs failure in Europe. The comparison between network operators NTT Docomo in Japan and KPN in the Netherlands suggests that differences in the underlying industry architectures explain why similar platform strategies led to such different outcomes. The paper contributes to the literature on industry architecture by unpacking the interaction between evolutionary processes, industry architecture, and business strategies. It also contributes to the platforms literature, by positing that firms' ability to successfully pursue platform strategies depends on industry architecture.