In this paper, we examine what makes an innovation ecosystem responsive during emergencies. We studied the innovation ecosystem within Kerala (India) during emergencies that led to two emergency-oriented innovations, namely KeralaRescue (developed for Kerala Floods 2018) and CoronaSafe (developed for COVID-19), drawing on insights from strategic agility and institutional theory literature. We identified the enactment of three meta-capabilities of agility by the innovation ecosystem, which made it responsive during the emergencies, namely, eco-centric strategic sensitivity, eco-centric resource fluidity and eco-centric collective commitment. Further, we found that cognitive, structural and symbolic institutional arrangements facilitated the enactment of these eco-centric strategic agility meta-capabilities within the innovation ecosystem during the emergency. Our paper advances theory on innovation ecosystems and strategic agility, and generates implications for innovators and policymakers, developing solutions for COVID-19 and other emergencies.
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