The Emergence of Sustainable Innovations: Key Factors and Regional Support Structures
Peter S. Hofman & Theo J.N.M. de Bruijn


Center for Clean Technology and Environmental Policy (CSTM)

School of Management and Governance

University of Twente

The Netherlands

Tel: + 31 534894541 / Fax: + 31 534894850

Email: P.S.Hofman@utwente.nl /T.J.N.M.deBruijn@utwente.nl



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 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.  

Full Paper (.doc format, 189.0 kb)

9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, June 26, 2008, Oral

The Netherlands, 2008 Meeting