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What biological evolution teaches about sustainable engineering innovation
Aalto Univ, Finland.
Asian Inst Technol, Thailand.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Univ Vaasa, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8006-3236
Univ Tennessee, TN USA.
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2019 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 240, article id UNSP 118267Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The objective of this paper is to provide a better understanding of the dynamics of engineering innovation by building a novel, extensive metaphor between engineering innovation and biological evolution. In a metaphor, a phrase literally denoting one kind of idea is used in place of another in order to suggest an analogy between them. In this metaphor, the insights gleaned from biological evolution were applied to engineering innovation. Biological evolution and engineering innovation are similar in that both exhibit creative destruction as evidenced by Darwin and Schumpeter. In the research analyses, special attention is given to the current multipolar world, with the poles consisting of societies based on different cultural traditions and to the emerging renaissance of decentralized production and its current iteration, Co-Engaging Production. The metaphor used in this paper challenges and even contradicts conventionally explicit and embedded beliefs in six ways. First, the dominance of Occidental science and engineering cannot be expected to last indefinitely. Second, the current dominance of Occidental science and engineering can have detrimental effects on engineering innovation. Third, free trade leads to inefficiency. Fourth, successful engineering innovation requires societal legitimacy and environmental conformity. Fifth, human cognition forms the basis of multipolar types of science and engineering. Sixth, past and current dominance reduces absorptive capacity in the Occidental. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ELSEVIER SCI LTD , 2019. Vol. 240, article id UNSP 118267
Keywords [en]
Biological evolution; Cognition; Engineering innovation; Legitimacy; Metaphor; Sustainability
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-161116DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118267ISI: 000487936100019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-161116DiVA, id: diva2:1366133
Available from: 2019-10-28 Created: 2019-10-28 Last updated: 2019-10-28

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