Towards x Futures with Generative Technologies


Generativity is an important property of digital resources. The internet (Hanseth and Lyytinen 2010, Zittrain 2008, 2009), open source online communities (Faraj et al. 2011, 2016, Shaikh and Vaast 2016), digital platforms (Constantinides et al. 2018, Foerderer et al. 2018, Hein et al. 2020), data (Blotenberg et al. 2022), or AI-based systems (Rai et al. 2019) are all considered generative systems.

Digital data or digital tools like platforms can be used for many different things (generativity as expanding product boundaries) and people can create new services upon them every day (generativity as expanding ecosystem boundaries). These two views have dominated information systems and management research for a decade. Throughout our extended theory of generativity on digital platforms (Furstenau et al. 2023), we present an integrative view that helps us find new answers to questions on the generative properties of digital technologies, and problematize long-held assumptions in the process.

Ongoing Projects

(1) Generativity on Platforms

Our Extended Theory on Generativity on Platforms (Furstenau et al., forthcoming) explains the relationship between expanding product boundaries (product view on generativity), ecosystem boundaries (social interaction view on generativity), and user growth on digital platforms. Our integrative view provides a new angle for explaining dynamics on digital platforms. Supposedly, generativity explains why platforms' user bases grow at exponential rates. Looking at six large transaction platforms, we problematize this "unbounded growth" claim. We expalin how even when more and more users are attracted to a platform, the ecosystem of developers is not growing - in fact if starts to stabilize. This is important, because it questions the baseline assumption that generativity and user growth are indefinitely self-reinforcing. We seek to further unravel the inner working of generativity on digital platforms.

(2) Generativity on data

By applying our integrative view on generativity to data (Blotenberg et al. 2022), we are able to explain how viral data is shared and brought to secondary use. More over and more importantly, we can explain why such data is not brought secondary use.

Research Partners

Prof. Daniel Fürstenau, ITU Copenhagen, Denmark

Prof. Abayomi Baiyere, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Arthur Kari, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany