The emergence of sustainable innovations: Key factors and regional support structures

Peter S. Hofman, Theo De Bruijn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter analyses the emergence of sustainable innovations in a selected number of firms and addresses key explanatory factors that contribute to emergence and diffusion of the innovations. The focus is particularly on regional support structures that facilitated the innovation processes, and on gaps between the needs identified within firms' innovation processes and functions provided by support structures. Ten sustainable innovation processes are analysed to gain insight in the relationship between the nature of the innovation process, the type of needs for firms, and the type of functions provided in regional innovation systems. It is concluded that especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) demand articulation remains a major barrier as users are often only involved when the innovation is ready to enter the market, while regional support functions in this respect are deficient. Moreover, SMEs have major difficulty interpreting and anticipating sustainability policies and regulations at local and national levels, leading to innovations that face major regulatory barriers or are unable to cope with policy changes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFacilitating Sustainable Innovation through Collaboration
Subtitle of host publicationA Multi-Stakeholder Perspective
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9789048131587
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Innovation support structures
  • Policy change
  • Radical innovation
  • Regional innovation systems
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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