Special Issue "Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. António Abreu
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
ISEL-Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, Polytechnic Institute of Lisbon / CTS - Centre of Technology and Systems, Caparica, Portugal
Interests: Innovation; Project management; quality management; Logistics; Operation management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last decade, the increasing globalization of markets, and the revolution 4.0, has caused profound changes in the best way to manage the innovation process. The innovation methods of the past are not adapted to the turbulence of the modern world.

In order to be competitive, companies must develop capabilities that will enable them to respond quickly to market needs.

The development of new complex products/services requires access to a distinct set of resources and skills that companies do not normally have. Thus, in order to ensure their level of competitiveness, companies are confronted with the following dilemma: to develop the skills and resources needed from their own assets, they sometimes need to make significant investments, or alternatively, use the skills and resources that can be made available by other companies in the context of an innovation ecosystem.

However, despite the fact that collaboration among companies in an innovation ecosystem has been considered unusual and indeed suspicious by many SME managers until a few years ago, nowadays it is commonly assumed that many companies will participate in an innovation ecosystem. Literature in the field has pointed out that participating in an innovation ecosystem brings benefits to the involved entities. Underlying these expectations are, amongst others, the following factors: the sharing of risks and resources, the joining of complementary skills and capacities, and access to new/wider markets and new knowledge.

In fact, there is an intuitive assumption that, when a company is a member of a long-term networked structure, it will operate more effectively in pursuit of their goals.

However, it has been difficult to support this assumption due to the lack of models that support mechanisms that explain the innovation processes in an innovation ecosystem environment. 

This Special Issue will focus on open innovation and its mechanisms in order to support the promotion and sustainability of innovation ecosystems. Contributions concerning theoretical approaches as well as case studies are welcome.

Prof. António Abreu
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Modelling and managing innovation in a collaborative environment;
  • Innovation metrics in a collaborative context;
  • Knowledge transfer;
  • Open innovation and competitiveness;
  • Open-innovation culture;
  • Governance mechanisms;
  • Strategies of open innovation;
  • Technologies to support innovation ecosystems;
  • Simulation;
  • Cases studies.

Published Papers (13 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle
Open Innovation 4.0 as an Enhancer of Sustainable Innovation Ecosystems
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198112 - 01 Oct 2020
Abstract
Innovation matters. Business success increasingly depends upon sustainable innovation. Observing recent innovation best practices, the emergence of a new paradigm is traceable. Creating an innovative ecosystem has a multilayer effect: It contributes to regional digitalization, technological start-up emergence, open innovation promotion, and new [...] Read more.
Innovation matters. Business success increasingly depends upon sustainable innovation. Observing recent innovation best practices, the emergence of a new paradigm is traceable. Creating an innovative ecosystem has a multilayer effect: It contributes to regional digitalization, technological start-up emergence, open innovation promotion, and new policy enhancement retro-feeding the system. Public policy must create open innovation environments accordingly with the quintuple helix harmonizing the ecosystem to internalize emerging spillovers. The public sector should enhance the process, providing accurate legal framework, procurement of innovation, and shared risks in R&D. Opening the locks that confine the trunks of community, academic, industry, and government innovation will harness each dimension exploiting collective and collaborative potential of individuals towards a brighter sustainable future. In this sense, the aim of this study is to present how open innovation can enhance sustainable innovation ecosystems and boost the digital transition. For that, firstly, a diachronic perspective of the sustainable innovation ecosystem is traced, its connection to open innovation, and identification of the university linkages. Secondly, database exploration and econometric estimations are performed. Then, we will ascertain how far open innovation frameworks and in particular the knowledge flows unveiled by the university promote smart and responsible innovation cycles. Lastly, we will propose a policy package towards green governance, empowering the university in governance distributed ecosystem, embedded in the community, self-sustained with shared gains, and a meaningful sense of identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Circular Mobility: User-Integrated Innovation and Specifics of Electric Vehicle Owners
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197900 - 24 Sep 2020
Abstract
The circular economy (CE) represents an environmentally and sustainability-focused economic paradigm that has gained momentum in recent years. Innovation ecosystems are the evolving interconnected sets of actors, activities, artefacts, and institutions who are vital to the innovative performances of single actors or actor [...] Read more.
The circular economy (CE) represents an environmentally and sustainability-focused economic paradigm that has gained momentum in recent years. Innovation ecosystems are the evolving interconnected sets of actors, activities, artefacts, and institutions who are vital to the innovative performances of single actors or actor groups consisting largely of firms in the products and services sector. To develop sustainable CE ecosystems, participating firms need to involve the consumers and users in their innovation processes. The automotive industry is to a large extent an industry in which incorporating customer requirements in product development is critical to success. In addition, growing expectations and growing awareness of environmental issues drive the industry to develop environmentally friendly products. However, CE solutions and, specifically, sustainable tyres have not yet been given due consideration. Likewise, the specific preferences of the end-users of sustainability-focused cars such as electric vehicles (EVs) and users of biofuels are unknown in the CE context so far. Based on the current state of research, this article addresses an important, unexplored topic of product circularity. Being the first article on consumer interests and active contributions to CE automotive products, it also extends the first articles on CE software products. A survey of 168 traditional car owners (no EV/biofuels users), 29 users of biofuels, and 40 EV affine consumers was conducted in Germany to create an empirical foundation for the specification of CE configuration software for sustainable automotive products, particularly sustainable tyres. The results show different preferences among these user groups, but also the importance of other characteristics not captured by the distinction by car ownership. In particular, the perception of climate change and the use of test reports or rating portals were variables that had significant influence on configuration preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Exploring Cultivation Path of Building Information Modelling in China: An Analysis from the Perspective of an Innovation Ecosystem
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6902; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176902 - 25 Aug 2020
Abstract
Ecosystem theory provides a new perspective for studying the development of the architecture engineering and construction (AEC) industry in the age of information and communication technology (ICT). As an extremely ICT innovation, building information modelling (BIM) not only brings technical benefits to the [...] Read more.
Ecosystem theory provides a new perspective for studying the development of the architecture engineering and construction (AEC) industry in the age of information and communication technology (ICT). As an extremely ICT innovation, building information modelling (BIM) not only brings technical benefits to the AEC industry, but changes the innovation paradigm of the AEC industry towards an innovation ecosystem, which improve productivity and sustainability throughout the project life cycle. This article contributes to innovation ecosystem theory by exploring the structure of the BIM ecosystem and deriving its cultivation path. Then, as the leading city in China for developing BIM technologies, Shanghai was selected as the case study to elaborate on the cultivation path of the BIM ecosystem. The results indicate that three layers identified in the structure contribute to the understanding of the boundaries, units, and analytical focus of the BIM ecosystem, with the BIM platform being the core layer. This topology structure, with the BIM platform as the hub, promotes interdependency and symbiosis among participants in the cultivation of the BIM ecosystem, supporting the birth, expansion, maturity, re-innovation (or extinction), and sustainable development of the BIM ecosystem. This research complements and extends literature on the BIM ecosystem, and provides implications as to the construction, cultivation, and sustainability of BIM ecosystems for emerging economy firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Technopreneurial Intentions among Bulgarian STEM Students: The Role of University
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6455; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166455 - 11 Aug 2020
Abstract
Entrepreneurship, innovation and technology are essential to the economic development of societies. Universities are increasingly involved in creating an internal favourable environment supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. In our work, we aimed to study the role of university for the development of technopreneurial intentions [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurship, innovation and technology are essential to the economic development of societies. Universities are increasingly involved in creating an internal favourable environment supporting entrepreneurship and innovation. In our work, we aimed to study the role of university for the development of technopreneurial intentions in a sample of Bulgarian STEM (STEM refers to any subjects that fall under the disciplines of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.) students exhibiting entrepreneurial intentions. The empirical findings of the study are in line with previous empirical evidence about the role of university support for entrepreneurial intentions among students; results also show that students in universities with better research in their scientific field of study are more likely to exhibit technopreneurial intention. Determinants of entrepreneurial intentions identified in the literature such as entrepreneurial role models, perceived support from social networks, willingness to take risks and gender may not be relevant specifically for technopreneurial intentions. The results of the study have important practical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Framework for Risk Assessment in Collaborative Networks to Promote Sustainable Systems in Innovation Ecosystems
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6218; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156218 - 02 Aug 2020
Abstract
Nowadays—and due to an increasingly competitive world—organizations need to collaborate in an open innovation context to be efficient and effective by achieving high levels of innovation with their products and services. However, the existing resources—as well as the innovation achieved from the diversity [...] Read more.
Nowadays—and due to an increasingly competitive world—organizations need to collaborate in an open innovation context to be efficient and effective by achieving high levels of innovation with their products and services. However, the existing resources—as well as the innovation achieved from the diversity of partners involved—brings challenges to the management; in particularly with risk management. To fulfill such needs, risk management frameworks have been created to support managers, on preventing threats with systems development, although without properly account the influence of each system component, on the entire system, as well as the subjectivity within human perception. To account for these issues, a framework supported by fuzzy logic is presented in this work, to evaluate the risk level on system development in open innovation environment. The approach robustness is assessed by using a case study, where the challenges and benefits found are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
The Role of Territorially Embedded Innovation Ecosystems Accelerating Sustainability Transformations: A Case Study of the Transformation to Organic Wine Production in Tuscany (Italy)
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4621; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114621 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Over the last few years, there has been a growing concern among academics and practitioners about the slow pace in which sustainability transformations unfold. While most socio-technical transformations tend to happen over extended periods, research shows that unless some dramatic changes are introduced, [...] Read more.
Over the last few years, there has been a growing concern among academics and practitioners about the slow pace in which sustainability transformations unfold. While most socio-technical transformations tend to happen over extended periods, research shows that unless some dramatic changes are introduced, we are risking damaging the critical earth systems that sustain human life. In this context, understanding why and how transformations happen at a much faster pace in certain places than in others is of crucial importance. This paper investigates the rapid transformation of Panzano, from traditional wine production to organically produced wine. Using a combination of document analysis, participant observation, and face to face interviews in Panzano in 2019, this article examines the role of the territorially embedded innovation ecosystems facilitating this fast transformation. The study looks at place based-structural preconditions and different forms of agency at different stages in the transformation. Our findings illustrate that a place-based agency is paramount for accelerating sustainability transformations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Proposal of a Holistic Framework to Support Sustainability of New Product Innovation Processes
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3450; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083450 - 23 Apr 2020
Abstract
The survival of companies in globalized and highly competitive markets, heavily depends on their ability to innovate through the creation of new products and/or services, supported by sustainable processes to prevent business failure. There are many factors regarding the interface company/stakeholders/market at all [...] Read more.
The survival of companies in globalized and highly competitive markets, heavily depends on their ability to innovate through the creation of new products and/or services, supported by sustainable processes to prevent business failure. There are many factors regarding the interface company/stakeholders/market at all hierarchical levels, which have a major contribution to sustain innovation in processes regarding the creation of new products and services. A holistic approach of all these factors, as a whole, has not been a subject of scientific research conducting to the necessity of creating a proposal of a framework that can be integrated and systemic. Thus, this paper aims to propose a functional holistic model, which integrates the strategic, organizational and operational levels regarding market business and company interaction, as well as the set of factors to take into account to guarantee assurance that innovative processes are sustained, when new products and/or services are created or improved. Conducted through an investigation of the state of the art, by literature review, a comprehensive and integrated conceptual model was built in a deductive-inductive way. Then, the conceptual model was validated through four case studies. Finally, it was found that the conceptual framework became functional, because its applicability has been successfully tested in a business environment. As a result, the tool developed here, can be useful to measure and evaluate projects dedicated to companies that innovate in a sustainable way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Toward an Evolutionary and Sustainability Perspective of the Innovation Ecosystem: Revisiting the Panarchy Model
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3232; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083232 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper proposes an evolutionary and sustainability perspective of the innovation ecosystem. This study revisits the Panarchy model in order to generate new perspectives on the innovation ecosystem. The Panarchy model describes the evolutionary nature of complex adaptive systems relying on four phases, [...] Read more.
This paper proposes an evolutionary and sustainability perspective of the innovation ecosystem. This study revisits the Panarchy model in order to generate new perspectives on the innovation ecosystem. The Panarchy model describes the evolutionary nature of complex adaptive systems relying on four phases, without, however, being deterministic: exploitation, conservation, decline, and reorganization. When ecosystems face important shocks, adaptive mechanisms and properties within the ecosystem lead the ecosystem to a new reorganization phase, which gives birth to another exploitation phase. In this perspective, the innovation ecosystem allows the avoidance of technology lock-ins and structural and organizational rigidity by providing mechanisms to enhance both resilience and competitiveness. Innovation ecosystem sustainability relies on two major dual forces: the exploitative function and the generative or autopoiesis function. Therefore, evolutionary and sustainability perspectives remain the “natural home” for developing works and models about the innovation ecosystem, and instrumental for policy-makers and practitioners involved in innovation management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Managing Open Innovation Project Risks Based on a Social Network Analysis Perspective
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083132 - 13 Apr 2020
Abstract
In today’s business environment, it is often argued, that if organizations want to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, they must be able to innovate, so that they can meet complex market demands as they deliver products, solutions, or services. However, organizations alone do [...] Read more.
In today’s business environment, it is often argued, that if organizations want to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, they must be able to innovate, so that they can meet complex market demands as they deliver products, solutions, or services. However, organizations alone do not always have the necessary resources (brilliant minds, technologies, know-how, and so on) to match those market demands. To overcome this constraint, organizations usually engage in collaborative network models—such as the open innovation model—with other business partners, public institutions, universities, and development centers. Nonetheless, it is frequently argued that the lack of models that support such collaborative models is still perceived as a major constraint for organizations to more frequently engage in it. In this work, a heuristic model is proposed, to provide support in managing open innovation projects, by, first, identifying project collaborative critical success factors (CSFs) analyzing four interactive collaborative dimensions (4-ICD) that usually occur in such projects—(1) key project organization communication and insight degree, (2) organizational control degree, (3) project information dependency degree, (3) and (4) feedback readiness degree—and, second, using those identified CSFs to estimate the outcome likelihood (success, or failure) of ongoing open innovation projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Systematic Review of Eco-Innovation and Performance from the Resource-Based and Stakeholder Perspectives
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6067; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216067 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The growing concerns surrounding the precarious state of the biosphere have triggered organizations to develop and implement innovations that curb environmental degradation (eco-innovation). However, eco-innovation is a risky proposition for organizations and their stakeholders, due to uncertainty of outcome. Despite the high investment [...] Read more.
The growing concerns surrounding the precarious state of the biosphere have triggered organizations to develop and implement innovations that curb environmental degradation (eco-innovation). However, eco-innovation is a risky proposition for organizations and their stakeholders, due to uncertainty of outcome. Despite the high investment risk of eco-innovation, the literature that assesses eco-innovation outcomes from an organizational performance perspective is scant. Thus, this paper uses a systematic approach to review eco-innovation and performance literature. The eco-innovation and performance literature reviewed in this paper is sourced from the Scopus and Web of Science (WoS) scientific databases. Results from this systematic review suggest that the capital market stakeholder group—an essential stakeholder group—has received little attention in the eco-innovation and performance literature. This is alarming, as this stakeholder group is expected to act in the best interests of the organization—as well as the other stakeholders—especially during strategy formulation and implementation. This paper also finds that the resource-based view and stakeholder theory are frequently utilized in explaining eco-innovation. However, the natural resource-based view is least utilized, despite growing environmental pressures. A multi-theoretical perspective can help to overcome the limitations of one theory, as well as help to unearth additional organizational factors which could potentially catalyze the eco-innovation and performance relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview
Smart Farming Introduction in Wine Farms: A Systematic Review and a New Proposal
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177191 - 03 Sep 2020
Abstract
This study shows a new methodological proposal for wine farm management, as a result of the progressive development of the technological innovations and their adoption. The study was carried out in Italy involving farmers, workers, or owners of wine farms who are progressively [...] Read more.
This study shows a new methodological proposal for wine farm management, as a result of the progressive development of the technological innovations and their adoption. The study was carried out in Italy involving farmers, workers, or owners of wine farms who are progressively introducing or using precision agriculture technologies on their farm. The methodology proposed was divided in four stages (1. understanding the changes in action; 2. identifying the added value of Smart Farming processes; 3. verifying the reliability of new technologies; 4. adjusting production processes) that can be applied at different levels in vine farms to make the adoption of precision agriculture techniques and technologies harmonious and profitable. Data collection was carried out using a participant-observer method in brainstorming sessions, where the authors reflected on the significance of technology adoption means and how to put them in practice, and interviews, questionnaire surveys, diaries, and observations. Moreover, project activities and reports provided auxiliary data. The findings highlighted the issues of a sector which, although with broad investment and finance options, lacks a structure of human, territorial, and organizational resources for the successful adoption of technological innovations. The work represents a basis for the future development of models for strategic scenario planning and risk assessments for farmers, policymakers, and scientists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Exploring Mission-Oriented Innovation Ecosystems for Sustainability: Towards a Literature-Based Typology
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166677 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
With mounting sustainability challenges, policy makers have embraced the idea of transformative, mission-oriented innovation policies, to direct innovation objectives towards the ‘grand challenges’ in recent years. Against this backdrop, the discourse on innovation ecosystems, bringing together actors from science, industry, government and civil [...] Read more.
With mounting sustainability challenges, policy makers have embraced the idea of transformative, mission-oriented innovation policies, to direct innovation objectives towards the ‘grand challenges’ in recent years. Against this backdrop, the discourse on innovation ecosystems, bringing together actors from science, industry, government and civil society for collaborative research and innovation, has increasingly gained traction. Yet, their role and architectural set-up in a sustainability context remains rather poorly understood. Complementing a systematic literature review with methods of bibliometric analysis and typology building, this paper introduces a typology of mission-oriented innovation ecosystems. It finds that, depending on the type of mission they are trying to address, ecosystems differ, with both a view to the actors involved, and the specific role taken on by them throughout the innovation process. In particular, it points to an increasingly important role of the state for realizing system-level transformations, underlines the importance of civil society involvement, and highlights research organizations’ need to adapt to new requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessCase Report
An Incomplete Information Static Game Evaluating Community-Based Forest Management in Zagros, Iran
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1750; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051750 - 26 Feb 2020
Abstract
The present study adopts a game theory approach analyzing land-use planning in Zagros forests, Iran. A Static Game of Incomplete Information (SGII) was applied to the evaluation of participatory forest management in the study area. This tool allows a complete assessment of sustainable [...] Read more.
The present study adopts a game theory approach analyzing land-use planning in Zagros forests, Iran. A Static Game of Incomplete Information (SGII) was applied to the evaluation of participatory forest management in the study area. This tool allows a complete assessment of sustainable forest planning producing two modeling scenarios based on (i) high and (ii) low social acceptance. According to the SGII results, the Nash Bayesian Equilibrium (NBE) strategy suggests the importance of landscape protection in forest management. The results of the NBE analytical strategy show that landscape protection with barbed wires is the most used strategy in local forest management. The response to the local community includes cooperation in conditions of high social acceptance and noncooperation in conditions of low social acceptance. Overall, social acceptance is an adaptive goal in forest management plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation Ecosystems: A Sustainability Perspective)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop