26th European Regional Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS): "What Next for European Telecommunications?", Madrid, Spain, 24th-27th June, 2015
Purpose: Information and communication technologies (ICT) are increasingly becoming an important component of economic development. ‘Ecosystems’ are one way of understanding complex interactions and relationships. Luxembourg’s ICT sector is usually characterised as performing admirably - it is often at the top-end of different indices and international league tables. Nevertheless, headline statistics and high-level assessments often disguise the complexities of dynamic relations. It is in this respect that this paper deploys the concept of ecosystems to investigate Luxembourg’s ICT sector. Design/methodology/approach: The layered ecosystem model, devised by Martin Fransman, is utilised to map key actors that comprise Luxembourg’s ICT ecosystem, following which a programme of semi-structured interviews were conducted. This empirically produced material, combined with documentary analysis, provides the basis for an analysis of the interrelated elements that are shaping the development of Luxembourg’s ICT ecosystem. Findings: The study has identified the main forces that affect the ICT ecosystem and concluded that Luxembourg’s strengths are related to its well-developed ICT infrastructures such as international fibre and national ultra-high broadband connectivity and high quality datacentres and its political vision for ICT that has led to a supportive policy environment. Its main weaknesses are related to an inappropriate educational system in which technical and scientific training is less developed, missing e-skills such as coding, application development, technical IT know-how as well a nonentrepreneurial mind-set and a risk averse culture. Social implications: The paper highlights the importance of the different socioeconomic, political, strategic and technological forces that shape the ICT ecosystem of a small country in order to provide a comprehensive basis for its policy makers. Originality/value: An empirical focus on a small country helps to redress the research imbalance, whereby small countries are often overlooked by scholars. Nevertheless, we contend that such “smallness” engenders a unique opportunity for research engagement with a majority of primary actors in ecosystems, which might be unfeasible in larger countries.