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Client orchestration for the implementation of energy innovation in construction
Halmstad University, School of Business, Innovation and Sustainability.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1754-5800
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to explore value creation from energy innovation in construction through implementation. The construction sector significantly impacts the environment. Buildings’ energy demand for heating and cooling accounts for 20% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Innovation is needed to reduce the sector’s contribution to climate change. This thesis focuses on energy-related innovations that reduce our dependency on fossil energy sources. For an innovation to give value, it must be put to use through implementation. In the construction context, the implementation takes place in inter-organisational and temporary project settings where interdependent actors collaborate to create value. The process of innovation implementation is affected by the innovation’s characteristics and the context of its implementation. The more complex the innovation, the more challenges the implementation process might involve.

Clients in construction are central when it comes to change, and their ability to adapt to changing factors depends on their innovation capabilities. For the industry to meet climate-related challenges and contribute to the energy transition in the built environment, knowledge of the implementation of energy innovations and clients’ innovation capabilities must be developed.

The aim of this thesis was realised by studying the characteristics and challenges of energy innovation implementation and clients’ innovation capabilities to orchestrate the activities required to meet these challenges. The characteristics and related challenges for implementation were explored by studying solar photovoltaic systems installed in the built environment (BEPV) as a case. The study identified several barriers to BEPV implementation and subsequent requirements for client orchestration. Due to a long history of implementing energy innovations, the real estate company of the municipality of Kungsbacka, Eksta Bostads AB, was chosen as a case in which to study client orchestration.

This thesis draws on the literature on systemic innovation, innovation implementation, and ecosystem perspectives. The literature on systemic innovation helps us study and understand the implementation of energy innovations. The business ecosystem framework serves as a lens through which to study value co-creation in construction projects, and the innovation ecosystem perspective can be applied to study a client’s innovation capabilities to orchestrate activities for value creation. This thesis offers several contributions. First, it offers insights into systemic innovation implementation in construction by describing the characteristics of systemic energy innovations that display a high complexity requiring collaboration required in both the process and the innovation as such to implement systemic energy innovation in construction. Second, this change leads to the requirement that a client should act as a focal firm to orchestrate collaborative activities beyond project management. Third, this thesis offers empirical evidence that implementing energy innovations involves understanding implementation as part of a larger innovation process, not as an isolated process. Rather, the innovation process is highly dependent on the ecosystem orchestration, which in turn depends on a client’s innovation capabilities. As such, the thesis contributes to the ecosystem orchestration literature by demonstrating that client innovation capabilities enable orchestration that involves activities within and between projects and engagements across industry boundaries. In this way, the thesis builds our knowledge of the innovation process in construction, specifically, that the client is a central actor in realising value creation from innovation. The research shows how a client’s activities contribute to innovation diffusion in the construction industry and that these activities are anchored in a strong long-term strategy and a holistic view of sustainable development. These activities consist of formal and informal working methods and wholehearted engagements at an individual level, at which trust and long-term relationships are essential.

Finally, by providing insights into the construction industry’s challenges in contributing to the energy transition in the built environment, this thesis offers policy suggestions regarding changes and adaptations in regulations and building norms to facilitate the implementation of energy innovations in construction projects, and to initiate educational arrangements and identify roles for key actors who can connect innovation development to innovation implementation for value creation.

This thesis addresses the United Nations’s goals for sustainable development, specifically goals 7, ‘affordable and clean energy’, and 11, ‘sustainable cities and communities’.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen syftar till att utforska värdeskapande från energi-innovationer inom byggsektorn genom implementering. Byggsektorn har betydande miljöpåverkan. Byggnaders energibehov för uppvärmning och kylning bidrar årligen till 20 % av de globala utsläppen av växthusgaser. Innovationer behövs för att minska sektorns bidrag till klimatförändringarna. Avhandlingen fokuserar på energirelaterade innovationer som minskar beroendet av fossila energikällor. För att en innovation ska ge värde måste den komma till användning genom implementering. I byggsammanhang sker implementeringen med en sammansättning av flera aktörer i tillfälliga projektmiljöer, där ömsesidigt beroende aktörer samarbetar för att skapavärde. Implementeringsprocessen påverkas av innovationens egenskaper och i vilket sammanhang som implementeringen sker. Ju mer komplex innovationen är, desto fler utmaningar kan processen innebära.

Beställare inom byggsektorn centrala när det gäller förändring, och deras förmåga att anpassa sig till förändrade omständigheter beror på deras innovationsförmåga. För att branschen ska kunna möta klimatrelaterade utmaningar och bidra till energiomställningen i den byggda miljön behövs kunskap om implementering av energi-innovationer och beställares förmåga för att driva innovation.

Syftet med denna avhandling har uppnåtts genom att studera egenskaper och utmaningar för implementering av energi-innovationer och beställares innovationsförmåga för implementering. Energi-innovationers egenskaper och relaterade utmaningar vid implementering har studerats genom en studie av solcellsprojekt i den byggda miljön. Studien visade på flera hinder för implementering och efterföljande krav på beställarstyrning. Med anledning av en lång historik av implementering av energi-innovationer valdes fastighetsbolaget i Kungsbacka kommun, Eksta Bostads AB, för att studera denna styrning.

Avhandlingen bygger på litteratur om systemisk innovation, implementering av innovationer och ekosystemperspektiv. Litteraturen om systemisk innovation används för att studera och förstå implementering av energi-innovationer. Ramverket för affärs-ekosystem har använts för att studera samverkan för värdeskapande i byggprojekt, och ramverket för innovations-ekosystem har tillämpats för att studera en beställares innovationsförmåga för att samordnavärdeskapande aktiviteter.

Denna avhandling bidrar till kunskapsutveckling på flera sätt. För det första ger resultaten insikter i implementering av systemisk innovation i byggprojekt genom att beskriva systemiska energi-innovationers egenskaper som visar en hög nivå av komplexitet. Detta kräver samarbete mellan många aktörer, ofta med aktörer utanför byggbranschen, vilket medför att förändring av både processen och innovationen i sig krävs vid implementeringen. För det andra kräver denna förändring krav på beställarstyrning, så kallad ekosystemorkestrering, av samverkan vilket innebär fler aspekter än traditionell projektledning. För det tredje ger avhandlingen empiriska bevis på att implementering av energi-innovationer innebär att förstå implementeringen som en del av ett större sammanhang, inte som en isolerad process. Innovationsprocessen är snarare starkt beroende av orkestrering, som i sin tur är beroende av beställarens innovationsförmåga. Avhandlingen bidrar till litteraturen inom ekosystemorkestrering genom att visa att beställarens innovationförmåga möjliggör orkestrering som innefattar aktiviteter inom och mellan projekt och engagemang över industrigränser. På så sätt bidrar denna forskning till ökad förståelse om innovationsprocessen i byggbranschen och att beställaren är en central aktör för att realiseravärdeskapande från innovation. 

Slutligen visar forskningen hur en beställares aktiviteter bidrar till innovationsspridning i byggbranschen och att dessa är förankrade i en stark och långsiktig strategi med holistiska perspektiv för hållbar utveckling. Aktiviteterna består av formella och informella arbetsmetoder och med helhjärtade engagemang på individnivå, där förtroende och långsiktiga relationer är avgörande.

Genom att ge insikter i byggbranschens utmaningar för att bidra till energiomställningen i den byggda miljön, bidrar denna avhandling med förslag på policy-nivå avseende förändring och anpassning av regler och byggnormer för att underlätta implementering av energi-innovationer i byggprojekt. Vidare ges förslag på att initiera utbildningar och identifiera roller för nyckelaktörer som kan koppla utveckling av innovationer till implementering för värdeskapande.

Denna avhandling adresserar FN:s mål för hållbar utveckling, särskilt mål 7,”hållbar energi för alla” och 11, ”hållbara städer och samhällen”.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Halmstad: Halmstad University Press, 2024. , p. 88
Series
Halmstad University Dissertations ; 115
Keywords [en]
energy, innovation, implementation, systemic innovation, business ecosystem, innovation ecosystem, client, construction
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-53264Libris ID: 8skj1r2g6z0kgf55ISBN: 978-91-89587-47-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-89587-46-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-53264DiVA, id: diva2:1854258
Public defence
2024-05-31, S1020, Kristian IV:s väg 3, Halmstad, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 2018-003205Halmstad UniversityAvailable from: 2024-04-25 Created: 2024-04-24 Last updated: 2024-05-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Implementing solar photovoltaic systems in buildings: a case of systemic innovation in the construction sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Implementing solar photovoltaic systems in buildings: a case of systemic innovation in the construction sector
2024 (English)In: Construction Innovation, ISSN 1471-4175, E-ISSN 1477-0857, Vol. 24, no 7, p. 102-123Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to explore the process of implementing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in construction to contribute to the understanding of systemic innovation in construction.

Design/methodology/approach: The exploratory research presented is based on qualitative data collected in workshops and interviews with 76 construction- and solar-industry actors experienced in solar PV projects. Actor-specific barriers were identified and analysed using an abductive approach.

Findings: In light of established definitions of systemic innovation, the process of implementing solar PV systems in construction involves challenges regarding technical and material issues, competencies, and informal and formal institutions. The specificities of this case highlight the necessity of paying attention to details in the process and to develop knowledge of systemic innovation in construction since the industry’s involvement in addressing societal challenges related to the energy transition will require implementing such innovations much more in the future.

Practical implications: New knowledge of solar PV systems as an innovation in professional construction is collected, enabling the adaptation of management strategies for its implementation. This knowledge can also be applied generally to other challenges encountered in highly systemic innovation implementation. Solar industry actors can gain an understanding of solar-specific challenges for the construction industry, challenges for which they must adapt their activities.

Originality/value: The exploration of actor-specific experiences of solar PV projects has resulted in a novel understanding of this specific innovation and its implementation. The findings illustrate a case of a high level of systemic innovation and the need to use a finer-grained scale for classification when studying innovation in construction. © 2023, Charlotta Winkler.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2024
Keywords
Innovation, Barriers, Construction, Implementation, Systemic, Solar photovoltaic
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-50845 (URN)10.1108/ci-10-2022-0264 (DOI)000948905900001 ()2-s2.0-85150748526 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 2018-003205
Available from: 2023-06-19 Created: 2023-06-19 Last updated: 2024-04-24Bibliographically approved
2. Challenges to business ecosystem alignment when implementing solar photovoltaic systems in the Swedish built environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges to business ecosystem alignment when implementing solar photovoltaic systems in the Swedish built environment
2023 (English)In: Building Research & Information, ISSN 0961-3218, E-ISSN 1466-4321Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Implementing solar photovoltaic systems in the built environment (BEPV) is critical for the construction sector’s contribution to mitigating climate change. While previous studies give various insights into innovation implementation, the challenges to value co-creation by construction actors remain underexplored. By studying the alignment of business ecosystems implementing BEPV in the Swedish built environment, we address this need. Drawing on the cumulative experience of construction actors, this study demonstrates how knowledge mislocation, knowledge deficits, cultural discrepancies, insufficient building codes, frequently changing regulations, and implementing a highly embedded innovation can disturb ecosystem alignment. The study contributes to the ecosystem literature, scholarly discussions of innovation implementation in complex construction projects, and the PV diffusion literature by offering insights into the realignment of ecosystems involving value co-creation by actors from previously unconnected industries. The study links PV diffusion research to the construction management literature by exploring the cumulative experience of implementation at the micro level. We highlight the significant industry reconfigurations required to accommodate a deeply embedded technological innovation, reconfigurations going beyond the challenges of implementing systemic innovations encumbered by fewer material dependencies. We also emphasize the critical importance of industrial interaction, coordination, and learning to accelerate the sustainability transition. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
Business ecosystem; innovation implementation; solar photovoltaic; construction
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-51624 (URN)10.1080/09613218.2023.2256435 (DOI)001064674100001 ()2-s2.0-85170654269 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2024-04-24Bibliographically approved
3. Interconnecting Innovation and Business Ecosystems: A Case of Client Orchestration in Construction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interconnecting Innovation and Business Ecosystems: A Case of Client Orchestration in Construction
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study explores how a public construction client as a focal firm orchestrates innovation and business ecosystems by coordinating participant activities to co-create value in the construction industry. The research is based on qualitative methods, with 25 semi-structured interviews being conducted with client representatives and project partners from four completed construction projects. This study shows how the orchestration of ecosystems for value co-creation in construction includes activities inside and outside projects. While business ecosystem activities in projects tend to be exploitative, innovation ecosystem activities are typically exploratory. Yet, the activities are not exclusive in this sense, but rather entail varying degrees of both exploration and exploitation. We show how a rather small public client firm, steered by an internal strategy for driving innovation and sustainable development in its building stock and long-term commitment to and engagement with many actors, can successfully orchestrate such activities by assuming the role of a focal interconnecting actor. We identify key factors contributing to client success in achieving high innovation ambitions: finding suitable partners, fostering strong relationships throughout and among projects, continuously testing and capturing learning from innovation, and engaging with the industry.

Keywords
public client, ecosystem, client innovation, orchestration, energy, sustainability
National Category
Construction Management
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-53259 (URN)
Note

Som manuscript i avhandling/As manuscript in thesis

Available from: 2024-04-24 Created: 2024-04-24 Last updated: 2024-04-25
4. Developing innovation capabilities in client-driven innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developing innovation capabilities in client-driven innovation
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The construction sector is experiencing a significant need to reduce energy demand and fossil fuel dependency, stressing the need to implement energy innovations to meet this need. This research examines one client’s implementation of four energy innovations in projects and their strategy for long-term sustainable development. The focus is on how innovation capability is achieved and developed through activities characterised by exploration and exploitation in these projects. Twenty-six interviews were conducted with client representatives and project partners from the four projects. The study shows that innovation capabilities are developed through activities both in and across projects, transforming exploration into exploitation. Such activities include discussions with external actors on innovation-related challenges before projects, incorporating R&D in projects, and creating feedback loops during projects. A long-term overview of the projects shows how the realisation of the client strategy is enabled by formal and informal activities, and supports the maintenance of long-term partnerships and the continuous development of innovation capabilities from both successful and unsuccess-ful implementations in projects over time.

Keywords
energy innovation, public client, sustainability, capabilities, strategy, implementation, exploration, exploitation
National Category
Civil Engineering
Research subject
Smart Cities and Communities
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-53260 (URN)
Note

Som manuscript i avhandling/As manuscript in thesis

Available from: 2024-04-24 Created: 2024-04-24 Last updated: 2024-04-24

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