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New Paper_ Digital Transformation of City Ecosystems: Platforms Shaping Engagement and Externalities across Vertical Markets

Common digital transformation drivers across different sectoral ecosystems (source: this paper)

The paper “Digital Transformation of City Ecosystems: Platforms Shaping Engagement and Externalities across Vertical Markets’ by Nicos Komninos, Christina Kakderi, Anastasia Panori, Antonio Collado and Ilektra Papadaki analyses the role of digital platforms in the construction of ecosystems, towards the digital transformation of diverse contexts. It is based on lessons learned from Digital Cities Challenge (DCC) initiative, implemented between October 2017 and June 2019.

The authors recognise digital transformation as ecosystem specific and address the question of how to design and replicate relevant strategies within highly diverse city ecosystems with specific growth and sustainability trajectories. They analyse 3 case studies -Sofia, Granada and Kavala- and highlight common patterns of growth and sustainability. Through this analysis, the authors identify digital platforms and platform-based ecosystems as key-elements to overcome diversity and create a pool of platform-based digital solutions across different city ecosystems. They argue that both spatial and digital network effects lead the development of externalities that play a key role in the formation, expansion, and sustainability of ecosystems. The outcomes of this paper simplify the replication of digital solutions and platforms in different ecosystems and vertical smart city markets.


  • Introduction and Problem Definition
  • Theoretical Framework
    • Innovation-Led Urban Growth
    • Digital Transformation of Cities
    • Convergence
  • Design of Digital Transformation Strategies in Cities
  • Sofia, Bulgaria: Digital Transformation of the ICT Ecosystem
  • Granada: Digital Transformation of the Health and Life Sciences Ecosystem
  • Kavala: Digital Transformation of the Local Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
  • Discussion: Digital Platforms, Ecosystems, and the Explosion of Externalities
  • Conclusions


This paper builds upon the lessons learned from the participation of Sofia (BG), Kavala (EL), and Granada (ES) in the Digital Cities Challenge initiative. The initiative was funded by the COSME Program of the European Commission.


  • Nicos Komninos
  • Christina Kakderi
  • Anastasia Panori
  • Antonio Collado
  • Ilektra Papadaki

You can find the paper here