Business models dynamics and business ecosystems in the emerging 3D printing industry

Ke Rong, Dean Patton, Weiwei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper explores the relationships that exist between business models and ecosystems evolving in the 3D printing industry using qualitative evidence drawn from three countries: China, UK and USA. In particular, this research proposes that it is important to understand the process of business model dynamics and formulation and how the associated ecosystem evolves alongside this process to support its development. In studying the dynamics of business models in the 3D printing sector, this research identifies a three-stage process, ‘initiation’ ‘execution’ and ‘extension’ and suggests three capabilities that enable the development of the model, namely, ‘scalability’ ‘flexibility’ and ‘extensibility’. In addition, it is suggested that the structure of the business ecosystem (product based, platform based, or some combination) influences the potential impact that these capabilities can have on business model development. These findings have implications for those organisations seeking to develop business models and ecosystems around emerging technologies, for practitioners involved in the development and extension of business models, and for academics seeking to evaluate policy and practice within this field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-245
Number of pages12
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • 3D printing
  • Business ecosystems
  • Business model dynamics
  • Capabilities
  • Platform


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