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The adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations
Halmstad University, School of Business and Engineering (SET), Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is an attempt to improve the understanding of the process of adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations. The thesis is based on two research projects. One project deals with the diffusion of environmental innovations and why they are less successful on the market than other innovations. The other project is about the adoption of environmental innovations by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and how to facilitate the adoption process.There are at least two good reasons why we should support the adoption and diffusion of eco- innovations. One argument from an environmental point of view is that successfully managing the environment is the greatest challenge facing us in the future and the global scenarios for the next decades are not encouraging. Another argument, from an economic point of view, for the need of eco-innovations is that the eco-industry is one of the most growing industries in the world and is likely to be worth around $600 billion worldwide by 2010.However, there are some indications that environmental innovations have a difficult time in gaining success in the marketplace and in spreading among potential customers, possibly more difficulty than some other kinds of innovations have.The overall objective of this thesis is to generate knowledge regarding the adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations. One purpose is to add to our understanding of environmental innovations and to their similarities and differences to “other” innovations. Another purpose is to understand and describe how networks can be used to facilitate the adoption of environmental innovations. The main research questions that I try to answer are:1) How can environmental innovations be classified? 2) Are environmental innovations less successful on the market than other innovations? 3) What are the main reasons for the differences in market success between environmental innovations and other innovations? 4) How could networks be used as a development method to facilitate the adoption of environmental innovations by SMEs?Several different methodological approaches have been used to develop a broader picture of different types of innovations and their development, adoption and diffusion. Two different approaches were used during the first project, dealing with the diffusion and market success of environmental innovations. The first one is mainly based on using questionnaires. The other approach is qualitative and based on case studies. Through a series of case studies of innovators and innovations we tried to achieve a better picture of the actual phenomena.The second project is about the adoption of an organizational environmental innovation by SMEs using a network. Since the goal of this project has been not only to observe the phenomena of the implementation of environmental innovation by SMEs using a network, but also to contribute to the development process, an action-oriented research approach was used in this project.Three main conclusions can be drawn on the basis of this thesis. Firstly, the new innovation classification system developed in this thesis improves the possibilities for distinguishing between innovations that are similar but not identical. A very large proportion of the analyzed eco-innovations are often classified as product redesign innovations. With the help of the new classification system it is possible to discern different types among those classified as product re-Vdesign innovations. Some are rather simple and accordingly classified as product care innovations, while others are classified as minor or major product improvements or even functional innovations. Secondly, our empirical studies results show that the environmental innovations are less successful on the market than “other” innovations. The empirical studies also show that there are mainly three factors which are especially important to consider in the improvement of environmental innovations’ marketing success. These three are: “Realism while evaluating one’s own innovation”, “Access to capital” and “Utilization of network”.Thirdly, to adopt an environmental innovation is not an easy task for small organizations, such as SMEs. But to be a part of and use a network is a possible way to facilitate the adoption process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2007. , p. 250
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1544 ; 2007:42
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-5404OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-5404DiVA, id: diva2:344951
Available from: 2010-09-10 Created: 2010-08-23 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Innovations that combine environmental and business aspects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Innovations that combine environmental and business aspects
2006 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, ISSN 1740-8822, E-ISSN 1740-8830, Vol. 1, no 4, p. 371-388Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is an attempt to improve the understanding of eco-innovations and to generate knowledge that can be used to stimulate their diffusion and adoption. The main objective of this study is to develop a new classification system for eco-innovations. The methodological approach chosen is a case study of 150 winning entries to the Swedish Environmental Innovation Competition. The entries that reached the finals were investigated and classified according to the new classification system into six different types: (1) product care, (2) minor product improvements, (3) major product improvements, (4) functional innovation, (5) system innovation, and (6) scientific breakthrough. The results show that more than 75% of the eco-innovations are classified as 'product care', 'minor product improvements' and 'major product improvements'; but in order to achieve a breakthrough in the area of sustainability, much more work is needed to achieve 'system innovation' and 'scientific breakthrough'.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Olney: InderScience Publishers, 2006
Keywords
Sustainable development, Eco-innovation, Environmental innovation, Sustainable innovation, Sustainability, Classification, Sweden, System innovation, Scientific breakthrough, Product improvement, Business
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-1522 (URN)10.1504/IJISD.2006.013736 (DOI)2-s2.0-34347325195 (Scopus ID)2082/1902 (Local ID)2082/1902 (Archive number)2082/1902 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-06-11 Created: 2008-06-11 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
2. Success factors for eco-innovations and other innovations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Success factors for eco-innovations and other innovations
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, ISSN 1740-8822, E-ISSN 1740-8830, E-ISSN 1740-8830, Vol. 3, no 3/4, p. 301-327Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to identify the factors which can contribute to the explanation of why eco-innovations have a poorer market development than other innovations. We based our study on 285 innovations that moved on to the finals in three Swedish innovation contests: the Environmental Technology Competition (ETC), the Venture Cup (VC) and the Innovation Cup (IC). We analysed four groups of factors related respectively to (1) the innovator, (2) the innovation, (3) the development process and (4) certain aspects of the surroundings with importance to development. One conclusion is that there are many factors in which eco-innovations differ from other innovations. The eco-group is older, mainly male, with lower technical or other education; they are more innovative and their network has a stronger connection to family. Eco-innovations are less geared towards industrial customers and currently have no major competition, according to the innovators. The development process for these innovations is different from that of other innovations; the time that has been invested in the process is much shorter and the access to risk capital and contacts with business angels are rare. The eco-innovators view the general surroundings more positively than others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Olney: InderScience Publishers, 2008
Keywords
Eco-innovation, Environmental innovation, Sustainable innovation
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-2987 (URN)10.1504/IJISD.2008.022231 (DOI)2-s2.0-58149374943 (Scopus ID)2082/3390 (Local ID)2082/3390 (Archive number)2082/3390 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-09-21 Created: 2009-09-21 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
3. A learning network as a development method – an example of small enterprises and a university working together
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A learning network as a development method – an example of small enterprises and a university working together
2001 (English)In: Journal of Workplace Learning, ISSN 1366-5626, E-ISSN 1758-7859, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 14-23Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Describes how the network concept could be used as a development method and to overcome some of the barriers for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to initiate and work with sustainable development questions. The study has been done in close co-operation with managers and employees from small enterprises, where the ISO 14001 work has been initiated and supported through the network, using each other and the network as an arena for joint reflection, support, and as a resource pool. The result from this study indicates that a university-driven learning network makes a difference in the development work of SMEs – as a source for inspiration, in initiating and working with development projects, for reflection, and as a sounding board, and through its effectiveness in acting as a large organisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bradford: MCB University Press, 2001
Keywords
learning, networking, collaborative relationships, ISO 14001, small-to-medium sized enterprises, sustainable development
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-4562 (URN)10.1108/13665620110364736 (DOI)2-s2.0-84986097808 (Scopus ID)
Note

Title of submitted version: Learning Network as a Development Method – An example of small enterprises and a university working together towards ISO 14001 certifications

Available from: 2010-06-03 Created: 2010-06-03 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved
4. Networks as a means of supporting the adoption of organizational innovations in SMEs: the case of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) based on ISO 14001
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Networks as a means of supporting the adoption of organizational innovations in SMEs: the case of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) based on ISO 14001
2007 (English)In: Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, ISSN 1535-3958, E-ISSN 1535-3966, Vol. 14, no 3, p. 167-181Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In spite of their large numbers, most SMEs have little knowledge of or interest in environmental questions and generally have difficulties when it comes to integrating environmental aspects into their activities. One way for SMEs to shift from a reactive to a proactive environmental behavior is to adopt environmental innovations. Environmental innovations consist of new or modified processes, techniques, practices, systems and products to avoid or reduce environmental harms. In this study, I focus on a particular type of innovation: organizational environmental innovations, such as an EMS in accordance with ISO 14001.

One objective of this study was to understand and describe how SMEs can use a network as a basis for initiating environmental work. Another objective was to develop a model that can be used as a guideline for the adoption of an ISO 14001 EMS by SMEs collaborating in a network.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2007
Keywords
EMS, environmental innovation, environmental management systems, ISO 14001, SMEs
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-5417 (URN)10.1002/csr.127 (DOI)2-s2.0-34347374906 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-08-24 Created: 2010-08-24 Last updated: 2018-03-23Bibliographically approved

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