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Functions of intermediaries in eco-innovation: a study of business development organizations and cluster initiatives in a Swedish and a German region
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Hannover, Germany. (Borderstep Institute for Innovation and Sustainability)
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Project Innovations and Entrepreneurship. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9938-8839
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Eco-innovation continues to gain support as a driving force for sustainable development. In this regard, pressing questions include how to stimulate the development, diffusion and use of eco-innovations. Often, firms engaged with eco-innovation need to connect to intermediary organizations (e.g. business development organizations, regional clusters, universities, financers, incubators) to get hold of necessary resources to tackle the challenges in the innovation process. This article analyses the functions of such intermediary organizations for eco-innovation by focusing on public–owned business development organizations and cluster initiatives in the Region Scania, Sweden and North Rhine Westphalia, Germany.  We synthesise at least eight functions of intermediaries for eco-innovation as: (i) forecasting and road mapping (ii) resource mobilization (iii) networking and partnerships (iv) commercialization (v) technical consulting (vi) information scanning and distribution (vii) sector branding and legitimation (viii) prototyping and piloting.  The support functions often take a “one-size-fits-all” approach with few initiatives particularly tailored for eco-innovations. This can be explained by the market complementarity roles of public intermediaries, their resource constraints and the cross-sectoral nature of eco-innovation. Even though, intermediary functions are often appreciated by clients and financers, it is often difficult to establish a causal relation between the support and eco-innovation outcomes, a challenge which undermines the existence of intermediaries themselves. Despite these challenges, potential good practices point to a mix between general “one-size-fits-all” and tailored support activities for different types of eco-innovations and firms. Furthermore, interaction between various types of intermediaries is important since there are often numerous actors and initiatives working with eco-innovation which can confuse firms. When it comes to stimulating radical eco-innovations, a proactive approach to intermediation is particularly important. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Innovation systems, Sustainable entrepreneurship, Public support, Regional development
National Category
Business Administration Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123206OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-123206DiVA: diva2:877405
Conference
Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference,1-4 November, Sitges-Barcelona,Spain
Projects
SHIFT
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-12-07 Created: 2015-12-07 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Kanda et al.,2015b(213 kB)75 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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