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Open AccessArticle

Why Do Companies Pursue Collaborative Circular Oriented Innovation?

1
Department of Circular Product Design, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands
2
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Lund University, Tegnérsplatsen 4, 223 50 Lund, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030635
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 25 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Circular Economy: Commons or Commodity?)
We investigate why companies collaborate within the circular oriented innovation process. The purpose is to understand what motives trigger collaborative circular oriented innovation, as well as conditions, drivers and barriers. First, we define circular oriented innovation building on sustainable oriented innovation literature. Subsequently, we investigate 11 leading circular economy companies operating within the Netherlands, who developed collaborative circular oriented innovation activities. ‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ dimensions for innovation are identified and applied to delineate the drivers and barriers for collaborative circular oriented innovation. Our findings indicate that collaborations are conducted by entrepreneurially-minded actors through sharing a vision, enthusiasm, and crucially, a credible proposition for a circular economy. Furthermore, collaboration is sought early, to co-develop the problem and solution space and integrate disparate knowledge from across the value network, to mitigate increased complexity. Motives to collaborate vary between personal and organisational, and intrinsic and extrinsic levels. Collaborations start based on a relational basis between ‘CE front-runners’ to advance knowledge through experimentation. ‘Soft’ challenges to advance collaborations towards the competitive remain around culture, and the mindset to share rewards and risks. Without suitable solutions to these challenges, collaborative circular oriented innovation could remain underdeveloped within the transition towards the systemic level. View Full-Text
Keywords: circular economy; circular oriented innovation; sustainable oriented innovation; collaborative innovation; circular drivers and barriers; circular experimentation circular economy; circular oriented innovation; sustainable oriented innovation; collaborative innovation; circular drivers and barriers; circular experimentation
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Brown, P.; Bocken, N.; Balkenende, R. Why Do Companies Pursue Collaborative Circular Oriented Innovation? Sustainability 2019, 11, 635.

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