Stigmergic Innovation System Based on Blockchain
: Investigating Distributed Interactions

  • Serhan Ünalan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The traditional innovation system models have emphasized that innovation is a collaborative process involving industry, academia, and government. These IS models have evolved over time to decentralized, democratized, and distributed structures, covering changing boundaries, the emergence of new IS actors, and dynamics within innovation networks. However, true decentralization and democratization are exemplified by technologies such as Blockchain, where self-governance replaces central authority. In fact, Blockchain technology, a subset of Distributed Ledger Technology, can transform SI by decentralizing traditional roles.
    The importance of Blockchain as a General Purpose Technology and a key enabling technology is increasingly recognized, while numerous studies investigate the technology and support its expansion and utilization. However, the literature gap remains when it comes to the academic domain which lacks sufficient studies exploring the intersection of Blockchain and SI, specifically how Blockchain technology has the potential to transform both the macro and meso aspects of SI. This overarching situation underscores a significant weakness in the academic field. Moreover, the existing few studies lack empirical evidence and neglect the unique characteristics of Blockchain technology. Hence, based on four paper formatted compilation PhD thesis, this research investigates how Blockchain can transforms SI by investigating its overall structure, IS actors, and relationships. The aim of this PhD is to conceptualize how Blockchain technology can enable a distributed IS, while STI policy is proposed to foster the development of the SI by examining the drivers and barriers for a Blockchain-friendly environment.
    This research employs a sequential mixed-methods approach incorporating both quantitative and qualitative methods as a research strategy, outlined in three separate stages, namely Understand, Explore, and Materialize. The Understand phase builds theory through literature review and quantitative methods. The Explore phase analyses empirical data, and the Materialize phase synthesises findings for policy recommendations.
    The key findings of this research suggest that Blockchain technology enhances decentralization, trust, and democratization in our society, while transforming the SI, but faces various barriers. It is also shown that Blockchain fosters new ownership models and incentivizes collaboration through tokenization.
    This research introduces a new model of stigmergic innovation, namely stigmergic IS, and examines the changing dynamics of IS actors, networks, and functions in digital IS and traditional IS environments. Furthermore, this research explores the factors affecting the development of Blockchain IS and offers policy recommendations, with a main focus on Germany, to promote the growth of country’s Blockchain IS by addressing both drivers and barriers.
    This research is of great interest to scholars, policymakers, stakeholders, and innovators seeking to understand the disruptive potential and governance implications of Blockchain in the innovation landscape. Additionally, it presents country-specific recommendations for Germany that may have broader applicability to other nations.
    Date of Award28 Jun 2024
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorSercan Ozcan (Supervisor) & Paul Trott (Supervisor)

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