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Publication of a study on lead complementor involvement in the design of platform boundary resources

Professorship Digital Transformation - "Lead complementor involvement in the design of platform boundary resources: A case study of BMW's onboard apps"
An increasing number of companies have implemented digital platforms to attract complementors who create innovations on the platform. Establishing such digital platforms is a challenge for incumbent companies because they lack related experience and capabilities. In particular, boundary resources that are the interface between the platform and complementors need to be well-designed to attract complementors and keep them engaged. We propose that lead complementor involvement helps incumbent companies to improve the design of the platform boundary resources. In a multi-year action research study, we established lead complementor involvement in the boundary resource design of a digital platform for automotive onboard apps at the BMW Group and evaluated how boundary resources improved. Along three episodes, we illustrate that lead complementor involvement was effective and we summarise our findings in four propositions: (1) lead complementor involvement facilitates platform emergence for incumbent companies by enhancing boundary resource design, (2) lead complementor involvement is more efficient in higher platform layers, (3) lead complementor involvement is facilitated by an increase of intensity and frequency of interactions between complementors and platform owner and (4) establishing a complementor community helps to continuously identify opportunities for lead complementor involvement. We contribute to the information systems literature on platform emergence and design by focusing on the process of designing boundary resources and by considering the heterogeneity of complementors. Furthermore, we contextualise the concept of lead user involvement in the domain of digital platforms and compare and contrast lead complementors and lead users.