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iKnow Community: State-of-art of sustainable innovation

Uploaded by Rafael Popper 1488 days ago   Year of publication: 2016   Number of pages: 158   File's language: English   Views: 460

The main objectives of the ‘State-of-art of sustainable innovation’ work package (WP2) in the CASI project are (1) to position sustainable innovation (SI) within the framework of the 5th European Union Societal Challenge on Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials (SC5) of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (H2020); and (2) to set the theoretical foundations for the assessment and management of sustainable innovation. This report summarises the work undertaken by the CASI partners to achieve these objectives. In so doing, it describes the key findings of a major stocktaking exercise that required the mapping of SI initiatives, and presents some implications that these findings may have for future research and innovation (R&I) policies for sustainability.

The study draws on the exploration and identification of more than 500 sustainable innovation initiatives. The identification required a combined focus on social, economic and environmental dimensions, as well as relevance to one or more of the priorities areas of SC5. Over 200 cases were further analysed and mapped, based on five selection criteria: public participation and mobilisation; sustainability and cross-sectoral linkages; multi-dimensional transformations; deployment and diffusion; and novelty.

To position sustainable innovation, the authors have conducted, first, a comprehensive review of H2020’s key areas in SC5, including the description of SI practical examples; and, second, an assessment of the selected cases in relation to the type of innovation, their impacts, systemic sustainability, roles and common features. These tasks led to the working definition of sustainable innovation as ‘any incremental or radical change in the social, service, product, governance, organisational, system and marketing landscape that leads to positive environmental, economic and social transformations without compromising the needs, welfare and wellbeing of current and future generations’. (See also CASI’s Sustainable Innovation Conceptual Framework report by Popper et al. (2016).)

To lay the foundations for the assessment and management of sustainable innovation, the CASI project’s State-of-art of sustainable innovation activities involved conducting an inductive analysis of 500+ cases, which led to the identification of four SI management dimensions, 10 SI management key aspects and 50 critical factors; then, based on these factors, a set of common considerations or recommendations for sustainable innovation managers were suggested using technological, economic, political, social, environmental and ethical perspectives. Both the critical factors and common considerations provide a practical frame that guides the conception, design and future development of the methodological framework for the assessment and management of sustainable innovation (CASI-F).

In sum, the report illustrates how bottom-up approaches can be utilised to build both theoretical and practical structures for sustainable innovation. In general terms, its findings will hopefully be seen as a valuable contribution to improving sustainable innovation governance, at a time when evidence-based methodologies are increasingly sought as a way of legitimising European policy action.

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