An Ecosystem-Level Process Model of Business Model Disruption: The Disruptor's Gambit

An Ecosystem-Level Process Model of Business Model Disruption: The Disruptor's Gambit

By Yuliya Snihur, Llewellyn D.W. Thomas, Robert A. Burgelman
April 2018Working Paper No. 3662

Based on a longitudinal case study, this paper presents an ecosystem-level process model of the interlocking key activities of the business model disruptor, other ecosystem participants (customers, partners, media, analysts), and the incumbent. Together these constitute a strategic process of ecosystem evolution from incumbent-centered to disruptor-centered. We identify the phenomenon of a “disruptor’s gambit,” where the disruptor reveals its intentions early on through effective framing, followed by rapid adaptation of its business model to satisfy ecosystem needs. These processes generate a virtuous framing-adaptation cycle, where feed-forward and feedback enable rapid response to customers and partners, while engaging them as force multipliers during new ecosystem creation. Our findings suggest that framing constitutes a dynamic strategic process enabling disruptors to reduce uncertainty, dislodge powerful incumbents, and shape new ecosystems through business model innovation.

Keywords
disruption, business model innovation, framing, adaptation, ecosystem creation