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Centre for Innovation Studies

Onderzoek Innovatie en duurzaamheid in Europese Maakindustrie

Start de vragenlijst voor het onderzoek Innovatie en duurzaamheid in Europese Maakindustrie

Sustainable innovation
There is little doubt about the believe that innovation is needed to arrive at sustainable solutions. Such solutions not only take into account ecological impact but also social cohesion and economical viability. Sustainable innovation requires close relationships between technological, organizational, and social innovation. The adoption of eco-efficient technologies for example does not come about if organizational routines are not adapted and customer preferences are not changed.

Interdisciplinary research
Innovation for sustainable solutions is approached from an “inclusive” interdisciplinary perspective. It brings together scholars and practitioners from different disciplines and perspectives: scientists and engineers, economists, historians and business adminstration people, philosophers and sociologists, and geographers. It is our conviction that all these perspectives need to be put to use in order to understand and deal effectively with innovation. An important role is granted to the institutional context in which firms and sectors operate, e.g. government innovation and education policies, labor market institutions and industrial relations.

Open innovation
Our approach cannot do without an “open innovation” perspective that emphasizes the need for companies to collaborate with external stakeholders, be they competitors, suppliers, universities, government agencies, or customers. Open innovation emphasizes the need to explore the new opportunities offered by increasing specialization, globalization, and communication technologies. The world has changed and practices of innovation change with it.

Dilemmas of innovation
A dilemma perspective teaches us to keep in mind that there will also always be advantages in secrecy, finding out things for yourself and staying in control. In our studies of innovation management and innovation policy, we emphasize that the practice of innovation management consists of dealing with dilemmas: seemingly contradictory elements, each of which deserves appropriate attention: e.g. the advantages of being big versus small; the advantages of outsourcing versus integration; the advantages of autonomy and creativity versus well-defined processes and tight control; the advantages of continuous product innovation versus standardized mass production; the advantages of operating globally versus local concentration.

Topics of research
Current research at the CIS is focusing on the following problem areas:

  • Adoption of sustainable technologies: What institutional evironment, organizational structures and individual characteristics are needed to stimulate firms to use of energy-saving and material-saving technologies?
  • Transformation of the energy sector towards generating renawable energies. What infrastructures and government systems are needed and how do they come about?
  • The challenge of combining competitive performance and corporate social responsibility: innovating for sustainability and the quality of working life.
  • Collaboration between companies and knowledge institutes in the field of R&D: why, when, how, and where can collaboration with knowledge institutes be advantageous for firms?
  • Collaboration in innovation between companies and their suppliers and customers: why, how, when, and where can collaboration with suppliers and customers be advantageous for firms?
  • Organizing for radical innovation: thinking out of the box, moving into different market segments, investing in long-term technological and organizational development and diversification: when is it necessary and how can it be done?
  • The importance of geographical proximity in a globalized world: the conditions for successful economic clusters, science parks, and incubators in an age of globalizing networks.
  • Organizing professionals in the knowledge economy: how can their productivity be increased and autonomy maintained?

Sectors in context
Our research is not limited a priori to specific sectors or regions. A considerable part of our current research is focused on developments in manufacturing industries like machine building, food processing, chemicals, and automotive. But our research on professionals and the knowledge economy is also dealing with developments in the financial sector, in the health sector, universities, the public sector, and other service sectors. Research on “smart oil fields” and plant biotechnology on the other hand is concerned with developments in primary industries. In sectors, our research strives to take account of the wider social and economic context of innovation with special attention for the issue of sustainable development.

About CIS
The Centre for Innovation Studies (CIS) is part of the hotspot Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Business Ecosystems and founded by Prof. em. dr. Ben Danbaar. It aims to organize, coordinate and promote partly externally funded business research concerning innovation, innovation management and innovation policy undertaken at the Radboud University Nijmegen. At the core of the Centre are researchers connected to the hotspot at the Institute for Management Research and the Science Management and Innovation group at the Faculty of Science.