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Roles of intermediaries in supporting eco-innovation
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9938-8839
2018 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 205, p. 1006-1016Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Eco-innovation is an approach to environmental sustainability. However, the process of eco-innovation can be challenging especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Thus, SMEs might seek external support to tackle some of their challenges in eco-innovation. In this article, we focus on one type of organization providing and also assisting SMEs to access support, intermediaries, i.e. an organization or body that acts as an agent or broker in the innovation process. Intermediaries support firms in the innovation process through various generic and customised activities. To identify such activities and describe the roles intermediaries take in eco-innovation, we conducted interviews and documentation analysis on selected intermediaries in two regions – Scania, Sweden and North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. The identified roles among our cases include: (i) forecasting and road mapping, (ii) information gathering and dissemination, (iii) fostering networking and partnerships, (iv) prototyping and piloting, (v) technical consulting, (vi) resource mobilisation, (vii) commercialisation, and (viii) branding and legitimation. In relation to the specific characteristics of eco-innovations, the intermediary roles such as prototyping and piloting, information gathering and dissemination, and branding were directly targeted at validating the environmental benefits of eco-innovations to tackle their “double externality” challenge. However, we found little intermediation activities from our cases directed explicitly at policy change for eco-innovation. For policy makers, our results suggest a complementary use of different types of intermediaries to support eco-innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 205, p. 1006-1016
Keywords [en]
Environmental innovations; Intermediation; Public support; Business Development Organisations
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152014DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.09.132ISI: 000449133300081Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85054696120OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152014DiVA, id: diva2:1255973
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Note

Funding agencies: Formas (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning); European Unions Interreg programme

Available from: 2018-10-15 Created: 2018-10-15 Last updated: 2018-12-04Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2020-09-17 10:56
Available from 2020-09-17 10:56

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Kanda, WisdomHjelm, OlofBienkowska, Dzamila

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