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Forests 2018, 9(5), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050255

Perceptions on the Importance of Forest Sector Innovations: Biofuels, Biomaterials, or Niche Products?

1
Institute of System Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, University of Graz, Merangasse 18/1, 8010 Graz, Austria
2
Wood K plus (Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH), Market Analysis and Innovation Research Team Feistmantelstraße 4, 1180 Vienna, Austria
3
Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
4
School of Marketing and Communication, University of Vaasa, University Consortium of Seinäjoki, Kampusranta 9 C, 60320 Seinäjoki, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract

New innovations are called for to renew the European forest sector into bioeconomy. However, little research exists on how the industry innovativeness is publicly perceived. Using data collected with an online questionnaire in four European countries, we investigate perceptions related to forest sector innovations on 13 current and new bioeconomy-related products and services. Altogether, 218 valid responses were received in 2015, and the data were analysed using descriptive statistics, performance-importance analysis, and Gartner’s innovation hype cycle. Based on our results, the respondents were in the strongest agreement that the forest sector has since the year 2000 has produced innovations related to wood building systems, construction materials, and wood composites. In the next 15 years, they foresaw a decline in innovations related to biofuels and paper products. The European forest sector also has future potential in wood construction, which is likely related to international policy targets related to carbon mitigation and capture. The observed variation in perceptions among the respondents on forest sector innovativeness calls for strengthening industry R&D, as well as by improving societal awareness of ongoing innovation projects by developing better communication. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest bioeconomy; innovations; Austria; Finland; Germany; Slovenia; hype cycle forest bioeconomy; innovations; Austria; Finland; Germany; Slovenia; hype cycle
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Stern, T.; Ranacher, L.; Mair, C.; Berghäll, S.; Lähtinen, K.; Forsblom, M.; Toppinen, A. Perceptions on the Importance of Forest Sector Innovations: Biofuels, Biomaterials, or Niche Products? Forests 2018, 9, 255.

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