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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030683

Sustainable Development in Project-Based Industries–Supporting the Realization of Explorative Innovation

1
Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden
2
Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

Both exploitative and explorative innovations are needed for sustainable development in any industry, but balancing the two types is a delicate matter, and exploitation tends to be strongly prioritized in many industries. This is typically evident in project-based industries (PBIs), which are characterized by a fragmented supply chain and the delivery of one-off solutions in business projects. Realizing explorative innovations in this context is complex due to the need to transfer new knowledge between the organization developing the innovations and actors in inter-organizational business projects. The aim of this paper is to highlight areas in the management of explorative innovations developed outside business projects, to increase the understanding of where the specific market setting of PBIs might necessitate an adapted approach for successful realization. A case study of three innovation projects in organizations operating in PBIs have been conducted. The findings confirm that the major challenges lie in the transition between development project and business project. We highlight three aspects linked to this transition that require a flexible management approach: the assignation and acceptance of suitable responsibilities and roles, flexible support for the innovation process, and system acceptance. The findings may provide guidance for actors in PBIs strategically seeking to promote sustainable development, and provide foundations for further research to develop support for explorative innovation. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; explorative innovations; systemic innovation; project-based industries sustainable development; explorative innovations; systemic innovation; project-based industries
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Larsson, L.; Larsson, J. Sustainable Development in Project-Based Industries–Supporting the Realization of Explorative Innovation. Sustainability 2018, 10, 683.

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