Modelling Influence in Software Ecosystems: Navigating a New Frontier

New Zealand can be considered, in one view, as a nation state set in a small remote set of islands in the Pacific. However, the history of New Zealand and its peoples is one of existing as a pioneer and leader in the technologies of the day. Now we face the challenge of how to successfully co-exist and thrive within today’s global communities, and the technologies that link them, to surf the waves of the internet (even if we are for now restricted to our own shores by the COVID-19 pandemic).

The collaborative research project supported by Catalyst: Leaders funding1, outlined below aims to help us understand the dynamics of software ecosystems and how New Zealand as a country can succeed in evolving models of open innovation. The project is summarised after the invitation to help with the survey below.

Take part in this survey

The project has as one of its key tasks to develop an understanding of the ‘state of the art’ of software ecosystems in New Zealand. To this end this survey elicits responses from technologists and managers on their views and ideas on software ecosystems in New Zealand. The survey will offer the respondents the chance to participate in follow-up interviews. We invite you to participate in this survey. We hope to receive a strong response from the New Zealand IT industry, so that we can help grow awareness of our own strengths and identify any barriers to be overcome.

Daniela Damian (LinkedIn)

Take part in the survey

Our project in context

Returning to consider our project in today’s context, another wave of colonisation is before us, with information and data as the raw material and how to garner it, how to store it, how to access it and how to benefit from it, as the major challenges. The large global platforms and business models that underpin this terrain, run the risk of a new voracious exploitation of the “colonies” which is “us” and the data we provide to remote owners to monetise and exploit. So we live in a new globally linked world with software ecosystems as a critical piece of the jigsaw. So how do we learn to “live local” and “compete global” in a world driven by software? One publication generated from the project for instance, looks at the implications for the hybrid skillset that developers will need to work effectively in a software ecosystem (Clear, 2020). Our history as a country with a mobile, intelligent, tech-savvy, collaborative, open and interculturally competent set of peoples can give us an edge. Our project aims to contribute to that.

In this project A/Prof Tony Clear and Prof Stephen MacDonell have joined with leading Canadian Software Engineering Researcher Professor Daniela Damian, to investigate the emerging phenomenon of software ecosystems, where software developers work to incorporate their software components through defined interfaces for a common platform. Facebook, and Xero in New Zealand are two such examples. The software sector in New Zealand is growing, but suffers from the challenges facing most industries dominated by small firms. Nonetheless it is an agile and intelligent sector with the potential to achieve truly global reach and scale. The new phenomenon of software ecosystems offers an important path to global interconnectedness. Yet we lack understanding of their operation. How does knowledge exchange operate and how can participants in these large social networks of developers and firms position themselves for optimal influence? Therefore, this partnership between a leading Canadian researcher and a network of New Zealand software engineering researchers and software firms, aims to develop models and theories related to these questions, resulting in a set of tools based on Artificial Intelligence techniques. It is intended that the outcomes of this research will assist NZ Software firms to achieve global interconnectedness within large, international business ecosystems, and position themselves optimally for sustained delivery of software in collaboration with international partners.

We look forward to hearing from members of the IT community, and hope you will forward this invitation to your colleagues and anyone you think who may be able to help provide insight.


  • Clear, T. (2020). THINKING ISSUES: Software Ecosystems: what do we need to know? ACM Inroads, 10(2), 18-20.
  • Damian, D., Linaker, J., Johnson, D., Clear, T., & Blincoe, K. (2021). Challenges and Strategies for Managing Requirements Selection in Software Ecosystems. IEEE Software, 38(6), 76-87.

1 Catalyst: Leaders funding is provided by New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment and administered by the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Project leaders