Ecosystem Innovation: Dimensions, Essentials and Measures for Successful Collaborations

January 30 2020
In this article, Dr. Angela Beckenbauer and Dr. Matthias Filser from the ZHAW School of Management and Law, together with Kathrin Hoesli, Head of Exploration at Swisscom, introduce some essentials of ecosystem innovation: trust, goal alignment (or at least goal transparency) and success measures.

Since its launch in 2015, Kickstart has grown into one of the largest European innovation platforms, implementing open-innovation for later-stage startups with numerous leading Swiss and global companies. This year, it is expanding into Romandy. “We are increasingly expanding our network with our current and new partners across Switzerland  to grow the hub for deep technology and sustainability,” says Katka Letzing, Co-Lead of Kickstart Innovation, explaining the move.

The application period for this year’s innovation program is from 6 April. “Sustainable solutions for the challenges of the digital and globalized age cannot be discovered in isolation. Rather, innovation needs different players. Only the fusion of the technological vision of the startups combined with the expertise of successful companies and institutions can move us forward,” Letzing continued. The platform is open to high-growth start-ups from Switzerland and abroad in the fields of Circular EconomyEdTech & New WorkFinTech & InsurTechFood & Retail TechHealthTech, and Smart City & Technology.

Focus: Circular Economy

This year, Circular Economy is a new initiative, tackling new solutions across all verticals. This will be implemented in cooperation with Impact Hub Switzerland,​ as part of the ​Circular Economy Transition initiative. “The goal is to support startups working with the organizations in public and private sectors in Switzerland and beyond, to implement more circular models and practices. Innovations based on technologies can significantly accelerate the transition to a circular economy in Switzerland,” according to Holger Schmid, Swiss Director of MAVA Foundation, which supports Kickstart.


Dr. Matthias Filser is Head of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the ZHAW School of Management and Law. He researches and teaches in the areas of strategic entrepreneurship, family business, and innovation. His work has been published widely in leading academic and professional journals such as the British Journal of Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management and Journal of Small Business Management. Matthias Filser is an entrepreneur, startup investor and expert in business model development and business acceleration.

Kathrin Hoesli is Head of Exploration at Swisscom. Before this, she was Head of Growth Areas and Experience Marketing Manager ICT. Kathrin has a master’s degree from Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi and from University of St. Gallen.

Angela Beckenbauer is Head of the Center for Business Innovation at the Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
at the ZHAW School of Management and Law. She researches and teaches in the areas of business model innovation, innovation strategy and corporate innovation management as well as strategic and technology foresight. Before her role at the ZHAW, she has been Head of Innovation at Hilti.