Project

Transition management & innovation ecosystems

Goal: We seek to understand and inform (the design of) transition processes and innovation ecosystems.

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Georges Romme
added a research item
The aim of this paper is to analyze how the governance of an enterprise blockchain ecosystem changes as it matures and increases in size. A review of the literature serves to identify five behavioral drivers of governance, which appear to affect the long-term viability of a blockchain ecosystem: access rights, decision rights, incentives, accountability, and conflict resolution. We subsequently report the findings from a comparative case study of how three large blockchain ecosystems implemented various governance mechanisms to exploit and modify the five behavioral drivers over time. Based on twenty-six interviews and approximately 200 h of participant observations, we propose an analytical framework that consists of three distinctive stages in the life cycle of a blockchain ecosystem. Each stage is characterized by an intricate relationship between off-chain and on-chain governance mechanisms. Based on these findings, various recommendations are provided to increase the long-term viability of blockchain ecosystems.
Georges Romme
added a research item
To address major threats to the sustainability and quality of life in urban settings, many municipalities have started exploring routes toward smarter cities to, for example, lower their energy consumption and carbon footprint. These explorations, in the form of living labs or other pilot projects, often suffer from major problems in scaling up the initial try-outs. In this study, we identify the mechanisms that facilitate the diffusion of smart city solutions, which are developed with public funds but typically lack dedicated resources to spur the diffusion of these solutions within the same municipality as well as toward other municipalities. We introduce the construct of embedded replication potential, defined as the capacity of an original project to be either scaled up locally or replicated elsewhere. Subsequently, empirical findings from a study of smart lighting projects in several municipalities in northwestern Europe serve to develop a checklist-based tool for assessing the embedded replication potential of an initial project. This tool can also be used to assess the replication potential of other smart city projects.
Georges Romme
added a research item
Transition intermediaries are actors that support socio-technical transition processes by bridging structural deficiencies in a transitioning domain. Previous research has identified what roles transition intermediaries perform and how. However, while transitioning domains are by definition in a state of change, the dynamics of transition intermediaries have hardly been studied. Therefore, we explore what mechanisms are driving change in transition-supportive roles of intermediaries, and what kind of conditions enable an intermediary to be dynamically adaptive in supporting a transitioning domain. These questions are addressed in a longitudinal case study of a major European intermediary in sustainable energy. We find this intermediary changed its transition support activities as a result of the frontline staff continually exploring the needs of transition stakeholders and designing new value offerings in response. These role dynamics are enabled by a structure where the policy principal delegates the choice of support activity and external accountability to the intermediary, which organizes itself in a customer-oriented manner. As such, we conclude that the dynamics in intermediaries’ transition activities arise from the interplay between policy mandate, organizational structure/design, and staff agency.
Georges Romme
added a research item
The development of a suitable public charging system for electric vehicles relies on inputs from many complementary organizations that need to synchronize interdependencies across different activities, organizations, and industries. Research on temporal fit has focused on synchronizing activities within or external to the organization, rather than exploring synchronization across multiple organizations with highly interdependent yet colliding temporal structures and multiple time-givers. Drawing on a case study of a collaborative effort to create a national charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, we theorize the interplay between various highly interdependent actors. The resulting theory posits that actors combine and shift between different innovation practices to organize time and explains how multiple, yet interdependent actors engaging in temporal work attempt to accomplish temporal fit. Three entrainment dynamics are identified: (1) temporal tug-of-war through ecosystem configuration; (2) temporal dictating through group politics; and (3) ecosystem navigation through temporal ambivalence. These dynamics arise both between and within groups of actors when they coordinate innovation practices across multiple temporal structures and time-givers. Together, the simultaneous pursuit of synchronization within and across these different coalitions appears to constrain the realization of the collective goal.
Georges Romme
added a research item
Transportation systems are transitioning to e-mobility, but scholars and policymakers are struggling to understand how to accomplish this transition effectively. In response, we draw on the technological innovation systems perspective and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology to develop a theory-guided and entity-based simulation model to better understand, among others, electric vehicle (EV) adoption processes as a specific yet core element driving business innovation. By doing so, our model is among the first to capture and combine the macro-and microlevel interactions associated with the EV transition process. Our simulation results shed light on the impact of alternative innovation policies, notably by explaining relations between EV market dynamics and changes in e-mobility policies, such as EV-related subsidies and resource mobilization. As such, the simulation modeling approach adopted in this paper enables a more in-depth study of transition problems related to e-mobility. Notably, the resulting modular model can be adjusted to other e-mobility transition problems by changing the specified entities.
Georges Romme
added a research item
Systemic intermediaries play an important role in shaping socio-technical transitions. However, there is hardly any knowledge about contextual factors that enhance or inhibit systemic intermediation activities in transnational settings. This study draws on a case study of a European intermediary in the energy transition field. The intermediary has been active in both transition-progressive and less transition-oriented countries in Europe. In specific, we investigate the intermediary's activities in Sweden and Spain. Due to local factors, the intermediary's approach was difficult to realize in Sweden. Most activities were performed with niche-actors or universities only, undermining systemic intermediation. By contrast, Spanish local factors favored systemic intermediation, allowing the regime and niche levels to converge. The findings of the study extend the literature by showing why intermediation in transition-progressive regions can suffer and by highlighting that transnational intermediaries entering a transition-progressive region must account for the local intermediation ecology when defining their role.
Georges Romme
added a research item
Climate change and urbanization have resulted in several societal challenges for urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been positioned as solutions for enhancing urban resilience in the face of these challenges. However, the body of conceptual and practical knowledge regarding NBS remains fragmented. This study addresses this gap by means of a systematic review of the literature, to define NBS as a theoretical concept; its broader significance with respect to societal challenges; the key stakeholders in NBS planning, implementation and management; and major barriers to and enablers of NBS uptake. The results of this review reveal that, despite a lack of consensus about the definition of NBS, there is a shared understanding that the NBS concept encompasses human and ecological benefits beyond the core objective of ecosystem conservation, restoration or enhancement. Significant barriers to and enablers of NBS are discussed, along with a proposed strategic planning framework for successful uptake of NBS.
Georges Romme
added a research item
The High Tech Campus Eindhoven is a campus-based ecosystem for hightech R&D, located in the city of Eindhoven (Netherlands). It is currently home to more than 160 companies and institutions, involving more than 11,000 product developers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and service providers. This white paper depicts and illustrates the key characteristics of HTCE’s capability as an innovation ecosystem. First, HTCE’s history and current offerings are outlined. Subsequently, I explore what has been fueling its success.
Georges Romme
added a research item
To enable the transition to renewable and sustainable energy systems, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) can successfully commercialize new technologies, yet doing so is highly challenging. Moreover, governmental policy makers tend to support measures for early-stage ventures or university spin-offs, based on the assumption that sustainable energy technologies primarily arise from early-stage technology development. Attention has recently been shifting to SMEs, which can help accelerate the energy transition. By combining a literature review with an explorative multiple case study of 20 SMEs in the Dutch sustainable energy sector, this article identified barriers and drivers for technology commercialization by SMEs. A country-specific barrier is the large consumption of natural gas by Dutch households, which strongly inhibits the successful scale-up of new technologies. The study found several managerial, financial, technological and policy-related barriers and drivers which affect technology commercialization of sustainable energy technologies by SMEs. These barriers and drivers were further assessed in an actor-based analysis, which suggests that the various barriers and drivers arise from the interactions between policy makers, industry partners and end-users. The paper also discusses the policy implications of the barriers and drivers identified, and outlines several challenges for future research.
Georges Romme
added 3 research items
Path-breaking innovations are increasingly developed and commercialized by networks of co-creating actors, called innovation ecosystems. Previous work in this area demonstrates that the ‘internal’ alignment of actors is critical to value creation in the innovation ecosystem. However, the literature has largely overlooked that the success of an innovation ecosystem also depends on its ‘external’ viability, determined by the broader socio-technical environment. That is, path-breaking innovations inherently challenge the prevailing socio-technical regime in a domain (e.g., established rules, artifacts and habits) that tends to be resistant to change. Overcoming this resistance is a major challenge for ventures pioneering path-breaking innovations. The paper contributes to the literature on innovation ecosystems by explicitly considering the socio-technical viability of the innovation ecosystem around a path-breaking innovation. In particular, we theorize about the objects of manipulation in an innovation ecosystem and discuss the strategies that a focal venture, orchestrating the innovation ecosystem, can employ in manipulating these objects so as to increase the socio-technical viability of the ecosystem. We arrive at a multi-level perspective on innovation ecosystem development that integrates internal alignment and external viability and informs a research agenda for future studies in this field.
The ‘science park’ model has long been showing signs of aging, with many science parks now facing budget cuts by local and regional governments. In this study, we dissect the blueprint of a highly successful campus-based ecosystem, the High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE). As an innovation ecosystem, the HTCE provides its residents (a) access to shared resources and facilities, to facilitate research and product development and (b) an innovation community that enhances knowledge sharing between people at the campus. The success of the HTCE arises from a deep and inclusive understanding of the conditions in which an ecosystem for research and development can thrive, and the commitment to carefully grow and sustain these conditions. These conditions include: low physical distances between the various buildings, offices and shared facilities; a dynamic portfolio of thematic workshops and meetings stimulate knowledge sharing and informal networking; careful management of the diversity and reputation of the campus; attracting and hosting ‘connectors’ that have the capability to initiate and/or manage collaboration across a newly emerging value chain; and a high level of responsiveness to requests and feedback of residents.
Georges Romme
added a project goal
We seek to understand and inform (the design of) transition processes and innovation ecosystems.
 
Georges Romme
added a research item
The domain of transition studies has been drawing more and more scholarly attention and, as a result, its body of knowledge is rapidly growing. This raises new challenges as well as opportunities, not the least regarding the methodological and philosophical underpinnings of research in this domain. In this respect, transition research, as a relatively young field of inquiry, has been little concerned with methodological investigation and reflection. We propose a framework that enables this reflection: the so-called 'transition research onion'. Subsequently, we utilize this framework to systematically assess 217 peer-reviewed papers in the field of transition studies, to distill key methodological patterns and trends of the field. The findings suggest that the methodology of transition studies, in terms of depth and diversity, is underdeveloped. These insights serve to guide future research on transition processes.
Georges Romme
added a research item
To achieve a complex value proposition, innovating firms often need to rely on other actors in their innovation ecosystem. This raises many new challenges for the managers of these firms. However, there is not yet a comprehensive approach that would support managers in the process of analysis and decision making on ecosystem strategy. In this paper, we develop a strategy tool to map, analyze and design (i.e., model) innovation ecosystems. From the scholarly literature, we distil the constructs and relationships that capture how actors in an ecosystem interact in creating and capturing value. We embed these elements in a visual strategy tool coined the Ecosystem Pie Model (EPM) that is accompanied by extensive application guidelines. We then illustrate how the EPM can be used, and conclude by exploring the multiple affordances of the EPM tool as a boundary object between research and practice.
Jan Holmström
added a research item
To achieve a complex value proposition, innovating firms often need to rely on other actors in their innovation ecosystem. This raises many new challenges for the managers of these firms. However, there is not yet a comprehensive approach that would support managers in the process of analysis and decision making on ecosystem strategy. In this paper, we develop a strategy tool to map, analyze and design (i.e., model) innovation ecosystems. From the scholarly literature, we distill the constructs and relationships that capture how actors in an ecosystem interact in creating and capturing value. We embed these elements in a visual strategy tool coined the Ecosystem Pie Model (EPM) that is accompanied by extensive application guidelines. We then illustrate how the EPM can be used, and conclude by exploring the multiple affordances of the EPM tool as a boundary object between research and practice.
Madis Talmar
added a research item
Notably, a revised version of this paper is published as: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316240226_A_multi-level_perspective_on_innovation_ecosystems_for_path-breaking_innovation