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Breaking the chains: A technological and industrial transformation beyond papermaking: Technology management of incumbents
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.). (Sustainability and Industrial Dynamics)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2582-2647
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent years, the necessity and opportunity for transforming pulp and paper mills into integrative units for large-scale output of biochemicals, biomaterials, and biofuels have come up in discussions of industrial renewal in the Northern hemisphere (mainly in Canada, Sweden and Finland). This transformation is related to technology shifts as well as changing business models based on new bioproducts due to profoundly new market conditions. The aim of this dissertation is to analyse how wood-based biomass industries – with an emphasis on incumbent pulp and paper industries (PPIs) – are managing this industrial and technological transformation that is taking place beyond the papermaking paradigm. Innovation theories on mature industries, their incumbents, and their propensity for technological lock-in and inertia are well-known. How new entrants and incumbents manage these large shifts is seen as central in understanding the dynamics of new, large-scale sustainable technologies on the one hand and the renewal of large, mature process industries on the other. Three research questions are addressed. First, where are the knowledge and technology frontiers developing in this transformation? Second, how are incumbents of PPIs are managing large market and technology shifts based on existing capabilities and knowledge bases? Third, what are the key mechanisms behind the transformation of PPIs from a process-industry perspective? The hermeneutical insights into the system of biomass technologies in general and the PPI industries in particular were gained by using a qualitative case-study approach, which formed the basis for four research articles and for outlining the empirical context and key words search of the quantitative bibliometric methods in a fifth research article. The research findings and main contributions address an identification of the, analytical, “formal”, science-based technology frontiers from a knowledge base perspective.  Old industrialised forest/PPI nations tended to specialize in rather slow growing, forest-based frontiers. They seem to have stayed close to the research trajectories of their woody raw material and knowledge base with the exception of North America. However, this not the entire explanation of transformation and technology development. Chemical pulp mills, in several cases developed into biorefineries, are the nexus of the emerging development block. They are contributing with products in a bioeconomy that is actively moving away from fossils and polluting materials (such as cement, cotton, plastics). In addition, demo plants (potentially nurturing hundreds of bioproducts) that are present at mill sites and involve different stakeholders, can act as the interface between analytical and synthetic knowledge bases that otherwise are difficult to combine in the upscaling phases of process industries. The response of PPI organizations to shifts in both technology and business models is also explained by the concept of diverging innovations of non-assembled products. These are part of a diversification of an industry from a forest industry perspective, and also of a diversification that may enter trajectories of several by-products and side-streams of the pulp “biorefinery” mill, and have analogies to a product-tree and to the material transformation flow of its production systems. But it is also a phenomenon of synergies in a broader multi-sectorial perspective, i.e. new sets of related products/processes that are able to replace industries of non-assembled products under the above-mentioned, new market conditions. The phenomenon of diverging innovations can be regarded as both an empirical contribution – the breaking up of a closed integrated process industry into something new with several emerging and integrative industries as a response to the large shifts in papermaking and sustainable needs in society – and as a theoretical remark on the model for non-assembled products presented by Utterback (1994).

Abstract [sv]

Under de senaste åren har nödvändigheten och möjligheten att omvandla massa- och pappersbruk till integrerade produktionsenheter för storskalig produktion av biokemikalier, biomaterial och biobränslen uppkommit i diskussioner om industriell förnyelse på norra halvklotet - främst i Kanada, Sverige och Finland. Denna omvandling är relaterad till teknikskiften samt förändrade affärsmodeller baserade på nya bioprodukter och kraftigt ändrade marknadsförutsättningar. Syftet med avhandlingen är att analysera hur vedbaserade industrier – med betoning på befintliga massa- och pappersindustrin - hanterar denna industriella och tekniska omvandling utanför det traditionella papperstillverkningsparadigmet. Innovationsteorier om mogna branscher, deras benägenhet för teknisk inlåsning och tröghet är välkända. Hur nya och etablerade aktörer hanterar dessa stora förändringar ses som central för att förstå dynamiken i ny, storskalig, hållbar teknik å ena sidan och förnyelse av mogna processindustrier å andra sidan. Tre forskningsfrågor behandlas. Först, var utvecklas kunskaps- och teknikfronter i denna omvandling? För det andra, hur hanterar etablerade aktörer i massa- och pappersindustrin  stora marknads- och teknologiskiften baserade på befintliga kunskapsbaser? För det tredje, vilka är de huvudmekanismerna bakom omvandlingen av massa- och pappersindustrin ur ett processindustriellt perspektiv? Förståelsen för det biomasseteknologiska systemet i allmänhet och massa- och pappersindustrin i synnerhet erhölls genom att använda kvalitativa fallstudier och metoder. De låg till grund för fyra forskningsartiklar och utmejslade den empiriska kontexten för kvantitativa, bibliometriska metoder i en femte forskningsartikel. Forskningsresultaten utgörs bl a av en identifiering av analytiska, "formella", vetenskapligt baserade teknikfronter. Äldre skogsindustriländer tenderar att specialisera sig i långsamväxande, skogsbaserade teknikfronter. De följer forskningsbanor närmare deras vedråvaru- och kunskapsbaser (med undantag av Nordamerika). Men det är inte hela förklaringen till teknikutvecklingen och dess omställningspotential. Kemiska massabruk, i flera fall utvecklade till bioraffinaderier, kan utgöra hävstången för ett framväxande utvecklingsblock. De bidrar med produkter i en bioekonomi som aktivt rör sig bort från fossila och resursineffektiva material och processer (såsom cement, bomull, plast). Dessutom kan demonstrationsanläggningar härbärgera en storskalig testmiljö för hundratals bioprodukter som är placerade i närheten av massafabriker och som involverar forsknings-, industri- och samhällsintressenter. De kan ävenfungera som gränssnitt mellan analytiska och syntetiska kunskapsbaser som annars är svåra att kombinera i uppskalningsfaser. Massa- och pappersindustrins omvandling förklaras också av begreppet divergerande innovationer av icke-sammansatta produkter. Dessa är delvis en diversifiering av en bransch ur ett skogsindustriellt perspektiv, delvis en diversifiering som kan generera i biprodukter och sidoströmmar, som har analogier med produktträd och påminner om det materiella transformationsflödet i det egna produktionssystemet. Divergerande innovationer kan ge ett synergifenomen ur ett bredare sektoriellt perspektiv, dvs nya uppsättningar av produkter och processer som kan ersätta industrier med icke-sammansatta produkter under de nya marknadsförhållandena som ovan beskrivits. Fenomenet med divergerande innovationer kan betraktas som både ett empiriskt bidrag - att bryta upp en sluten, integrerad processindustri till något nytt med flera framväxande och integrerande näringar som ett svar på de stora förändringarna i industrin och i samhället – och också som en kritik av modellen för icke-sammansatta produkter som tidigare presenterats av Utterback (1994).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016. , 40 p.
Series
, TRITA IEO-R, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2016:09
Keyword [en]
Technological and industrial transformation, development block, incumbents, pulp and paper industries, wood-based biorefinery, diverging innovations of non-assembled products
Keyword [sv]
Teknologisk och industriell omvandling, utvecklingsblock, etablerade företag och industrier, massa- och pappersindustrin, vedbaserade bioraffinaderier, divergerande innovationer av icke-sammansatta produkter.
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-191261ISBN: 978-91-7729-083-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-191261DiVA: diva2:955871
Public defence
2016-09-29, F 3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20160829

Available from: 2016-08-29 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-09-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Publication to Patent Analysis for Detecting Science & Technology Frontiers: The Case of Biofuels, Biochemicals and Biomaterials or Academic Lock-In is Not Necessarily Affecting Business Behavior
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Publication to Patent Analysis for Detecting Science & Technology Frontiers: The Case of Biofuels, Biochemicals and Biomaterials or Academic Lock-In is Not Necessarily Affecting Business Behavior
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we apply large-scale review methodologies and introduce the PPA model - Publication to Patent Analysis ‑ in order to map recent developments in science and technology frontiers of biorefinery activities. Using a bibliometrical approach in the PPA model, we aim to detect and analyze scientific and technological trends in a potentially huge sector. This study takes on the challenge of closing the gap between two strands of analysis - publication analysis and a parallel patent analysis. Bibliometrics is used in order to provide the basis for identification of Science & Technology frontiers, i.e. clusters. Moreover, the data analysis can be used for probabilistic topic modelling of clusters created from publication and patent data. In the studies of knowledge transfer between science and technology this kind of approach has previously been applied only at the micro level. We provide a novel approach proposed for analyses of broader technology sectors which may support policymakers, R&D funding agencies as well as industrial management in the production of scientific and technological intelligence. In our case study results indicate that old forest industry nations in Europe (Austria, Germany, and Sweden) seem at best reactive and pragmatic leaning on their industrial specialization. In general, the EU countries are lagging behind when it comes to new and fast-growing science fields based on non-woody biomass materials and product fields and instead concentrated to more mature or slow-growing wood-based activities.

Keyword
Bibliometrics, large-scale review, science and technology frontiers, science and technology indicators, technological paradigms and lock-in, publication to patent analysis
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-191251 (URN)
External cooperation:
Note

This research was funded by the grant ERN45/09 from the Torsten and Ragnar Soderberg Foundation and by the grant 12/09 from the Lars Erik Lundberg Foundation for Research and Education.

QC 20160829

Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved
2. Beyond papermaking: technology and market shifts for wood-based biomass industries - management implications for large-scale industries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beyond papermaking: technology and market shifts for wood-based biomass industries - management implications for large-scale industries
2014 (English)In: Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, ISSN 0953-7325, E-ISSN 1465-3990, Vol. 26, no 8, 875-891 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Growing environmental concerns, emerging economies, and the strong uncertainties about future prices of fossil fuels as well as about CO2 emissions contribute to a potential renaissance for biorefining industries. According to theories on technology shifts and innovations (e. g. [Utterback, J. M. 1994. Mastering the dynamics of innovation. How companies can seize opportunities under technological change. Harvard Business School Press]), heavy process industries like pulp and paper tend to be rigid towards disruptive innovations and instead focus on incremental innovations and economies of scale. However, a major empirical contribution from this case study demonstrates that some incumbents may escape the lock-in and form a new biomass development block. The study also contributes to academic as well as technology and innovation management perspectives in process-based and natural resource-based industries, where process innovations are tightly coupled with product innovations in inter-industry (vertical) linkages, the so-called development block.

Keyword
innovation management, technology and market shifts, industrial transformation, pulp and paper, development block
National Category
Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-150544 (URN)10.1080/09537325.2014.912789 (DOI)000339991000002 ()2-s2.0-84905101942 (ScopusID)
External cooperation:
Projects
I avhandling: Breaking the chains. A technological and industrial transformation beyond papermaking: Technology management of incumbents. TRITA IEO-R 2016:09
Note

QC 20140908

Funded by grant 12/09 from the Lars Erik Lundberg Foundation for Research and Education

Available from: 2014-09-08 Created: 2014-09-05 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved
3. Return of the periphery?: Globalisation, Climate change and the options for forest regions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Return of the periphery?: Globalisation, Climate change and the options for forest regions
2012 (English)In: International journal of environmental sciences and development, ISSN 2010-0264, Vol. 3, no 3, 246-252 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to analyse the conditions for a second wave of industrial dynamics of forestry rich regions in old industrialised nations which in the past contributed to the industrial competitiveness but today find themselves in the periphery of industrial development. The main argument is that the process of globalisation and climate change mitigations combined create a scramble for biomass and that this provide a golden opportunity for a revival of the industrial base of forest rich regions. In the 21th century bioenergy applications and new biomaterials based on the properties of boreal trees are emerging in Scandinavia. These resources in combination with new technology can contribute with advanced materials and solutions in a world moving away from fossils. This emerging paradigm has some of the infrastructure already at place – i.e. pulp mills that for decades have been used for papermaking. At least to 2020, the scramble for bioenergy solutions might be a second best alternative in the climate change mitigation in order to reach the European policy goals. Considering our findings this might restrict the potential for biomass pathways with higher potential both from carbon sequestration and industrial development perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Singapore: Asia-Pacific Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering Society, 2012
Keyword
Climate change, peripheral regions, old industrialised resource rich nations, industrial dynamics
National Category
Economics and Business
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-93973 (URN)
External cooperation:
Projects
Compilation dissertation: Breaking the chains. A technological and industrial transformation beyond papermaking: Technology management of incumbents. TRITA IEO-R 2016:09
Funder
StandUp
Note

QC 20120615

Funded by grant 12/09 from the Lars Erik Lundberg Foundation for Research and Education

Available from: 2012-05-03 Created: 2012-05-03 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved
4. The Transformation of Pulp and Paper Industries: The role of Local Networks and Institutions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Transformation of Pulp and Paper Industries: The role of Local Networks and Institutions
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, ISSN 1753-0660, E-ISSN 1753-0679, Vol. 5, no 1, 41-57 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The pulp and paper industry has historically played a significant role in countries in the northern hemisphere (Biermann, 1996; Hylander, 2009; Laurila, 1998). However, the process of globalisation manifested among others by the rise of BRIC countries on the one hand and increasing environmental concerns on the other have combined to impose what may be termed as transformative pressure. This pressure is exacerbated by the fact that many pulp and paper plants are located in peripheral regions which find themselves in the midst of a development discourse on the necessity of creating mechanisms to promote regional innovation systems. The aim of this paper is to discuss and illustrate how local institutions enabled the transformation of a pulp plant in a peripheral region in Sweden into a biorefinery. The study suggests that agents from industry and local government were important and that their actions took place in an institutional framework containing key processes of change –knowledge formation, market formation, aspects of local legitimation leading to positive externalities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
InderScience Publishers, 2013
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-118735 (URN)10.1504/IJIRD.2013.052507 (DOI)
External cooperation:
Projects
Ingår i TRITA IEO-R 2016:09, compilation dissertation: Breaking the chains. A technological and industrial transformation beyond papermaking: Technology management of incumbents.
Note

QC 20130318

Available from: 2013-02-25 Created: 2013-02-25 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved
5. Technological Transformation & Diverging Innovations in Process Industries: The case of a biorefining development block
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technological Transformation & Diverging Innovations in Process Industries: The case of a biorefining development block
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This chapter is about a large-scale process industry where innovations have characteristics that are not well represented in the innovation management literature and where the transformation is related to technology shifts as well as changing business models. This industry located in the Northern hemisphere is trying to transform due to new market conditions, and to introduce new bioproducts based on woody biomass. In the following analysis inspired by the Swedish economist Erik Dahmén, I introduce the concept “diverging innovation” to the established toolbox of innovation analyses, arguing that this concept in general is useful for the analyses of process industries, and – in particular for the development block of wood-based biorefining - i.e. a set of diverging innovations of non-assembled products resulting in a renewal of industries. I will argue that understanding the nature of innovation in process industries have profound policy and management implications. 

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-191255 (URN)KTH/IEO/R-16:09-SE (ISRN)
External cooperation:
Projects
KTH/IEO/R-16:09-SE; compilation dissertation
Note

QC 20160829

Available from: 2016-08-26 Created: 2016-08-26 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved

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