The Emergence of Sustainable Innovations: Key Factors and Regional Support Structures [chapter]

Peter S. Hofman, Theo de Bruijn
2010 Facilitating Sustainable Innovation through Collaboration  
The paper analyses the emergence of sustainable innovations in a selected number of firms and addresses key explanatory factors that contribute to emergence and diffusion of the innovations. The focus is particularly on regional support structures that facilitated the innovation processes, and on gaps between the needs identified within firms's innovation processes and functions provided by support structures. Ten sustainable innovation processes are analysed to gain insight in the relationship
more » ... between the nature of the innovation process, the type of needs for firms, and the type of functions provided in regional innovation systems. It is concluded that especially for SMEs demand articulation remains a major barrier as users are often only involved when the innovation is ready to enter the market, while regional support functions in this respect are deficient. Moreover, SMEs have major difficulty interpreting and anticipating sustainability policies and regulations at local and national levels, leading to innovations that face major regulatory barriers or are unable to cope with policy changes. customer experience set up pilots to analyse user behaviour to product/technology, develop means for educating users -modes of customer communication Totally new modes of communication required develop appropriate modes of communication Intermediary organizations may provide various functions to overcome these barriers. Howells (2006: 720) identifies key functions such as: -Foresight and diagnostics (e.g. technology roadmapping and needs articulation) -Scanning and information processing -Knowledge processing and combination/recombination -Gatekeeping and brokering (combining knowledge of different partners) -Testing and validation (early lab trials, pilots of innovations) -Accreditation and standards (developing technical and industrial standards) -Regulation (anticipating and influencing regulation) -Protecting the results (intellectual property management) -Commercialisation (finding lead users, marketing) -Evaluation of outcomes (evaluation and improvement of product performance)
doi:10.1007/978-90-481-3159-4_7 fatcat:z3aqckgj4fed7jxg4mxeuumara