To drive sustainability transitions on a global scale for a carbon neutral future, green innovations are needed. In this study, we are keen to understand the role of intellectual property (IP) and particularly, its usage by firms innovating for a sustainable future. Unfortunately, little is known about how IP impacts sustainability transitions. To contribute to a better understanding, we chose to investigate IP usage by award – winning green innovators. We study the winners of the European Inventor Award, a highly prestigious international prize, awarded annually by the European Patent Office since 2006. Among all 210 awardees, we identified 52 winners that we classified as green innovators. Our analysis shows that closed and semi-open IP, particularly non-exclusive licensing, are the preferred IP strategies for green innovations. The IP strategy preferences seem to vary across technology domains. These findings are discussed along with their implications.
We are saying goodbye to Dr Timo Weyrauch from the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at Hamburg University of Technology. Timo has been with us for three months to turn his PhD supervised by Cornelius Herstatt into a paper for IEEE. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you on your novel method for devloping radical and frugal innovation. Thanks Timo for all the inspiring discussions and engaging so well with the IIPM group and CTM. We wish you all the best for your next career steps.
We are excited that our proposal was selected to receive funding from the Belmont Forum, a pan-international social science research body. The project focuses on studying how IP models can help to accelerate sustainability transitions, particularly analysing sustainable business models for clean energy and the circular economy.
Starting in October, the IPACST project will run for three years. Project partners include:
Total projects funds are about 1m€. UK funds for the project come from the Global Challenges Research Funds, respectively the ESRC. The project is among 12 selected consortia projects out of 155 eligible proposals.
We will soon be looking to recruit a postdoc, preferably with research expertise in IP and licensing, but also sustainable innovation and the circular economy.
Dr Tim Minshall has been appointed as the inaugural Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation at the University of Cambridge, a new post that will build on the University’s strengths in science, engineering and entrepreneurship. Dr Minshall, who is currently Head of CTM. Reader in Technology & Innovation Management in the Department of Engineering and Fellow of Churchill College, will take up his new post on 1 October.
Over the last two days I attended the DRUID conference in New York. It has been an excellent experience. While this might be partially explained by the unbeatable location, I found the intellectual conversations and particularly the DRUID debates extremely inspiring and on a fantastic high level.
The conference features two debates, with the first one on engaging with practice (and the problem to create impact) and the second on focused on theoretical and empirical contributions in academic papers.
Particularly when I was listening to the second DRUID debate it struck me that the debate circled around a particularly view of what must be considered one particular way to understand what theory is. It seems to me that most colleagues (possibly mostly the younger ones) understand theory predominantly as an instrument to provide explanations of existing phenomenon, particularly of those which warrant explanation (i.e. are relevant). Accordingly, the type of theory to be developed and tested usually seeks to explain ‘why’, in other words to explain the causalities within and around certain phenomenon (i.e. interrelations of constructs). From my understanding, such an understanding essentially forces researchers to become concerned with existing (ex post) conceptual or empirical phenomenon and will inevitable aim at developing explanatory theories. Let me try to explain why I think this approach is linked the problem that the community faces about creating impact through research (i.e. discussed during the first debate) and how this could possibly be changed.
There is an alternative way of thinking about what theory is, which was briefly touched upon by Martin Kilduff during the second debate. One may want to consider whether to disregard the phenomenon focused approach and substitute it with a focus on economic or managerial problems (e.g. the strategic alignment problem). Focusing on a problem (instead of phenomenon) offers a different cognitive space and thus a way for the field to create the impact it deserves with all the intellectually power of extremely capable colleagues behind it. Let me try to explain how I see it.
Focusing on problems will drive researchers to theorize solutions, some of which might be sub-optimal, but through empirical testing, validation and refinement one may (eventually) arrive at a fairly optimal solution to a certain problem. Hence, when focusing on problems the type of theory to be developed will be of inherently different nature than the theorizing that takes place when aiming to explain phenomenon. Instead of taking an ex-post observatory approach researchers will be forced to develop theories, i.e. an understanding of causalities that need to be set in action for solving a problem. These kind of theories can likewise be tested empirically, even though we may need slightly different methods (e.g. simulations). The next step would then be to develop policy frameworks (which can turn out to be highly relevant policy implications) as well as tools and techniques (to be put forward as managerial implications), which in turn can be tested empirically (i.e. their performance). We may also need to develop particularly skills, if not guidelines to frame and define problems.
Taking such an approach to empirically supported theory development may contribute to changing the research conducted in the community towards a way that creates impact, while being rigorous. Research will then become a creative (problem solving) endeavour with relevance and impact.
Pleased to announce a fully funded EPSRC scholarship to support one PhD student with research focusing on „OpenIP strategies for emerging technologies“ starting in October 2017.
Applicants from the UK are eligible for a full award covering university and college fees and a maintenance allowance. Applicants from the EU are only eligible for a fees-only award unless they can be deemed a home student, i.e. have been permanent residency in the UK for the 3 years preceding October 2017. Unfortunately, overseas applicants are not eligible for this particular scholarship.
The application deadline is 31 January 2017. Further details available here.
R&D Management invites submissions of papers for a special issue on „Leveraging open innovation to improve society: past achievements and future trajectories.“ Submission Deadline: December 31, 2016. For more information on this call for papers, click here.
The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource are tracking venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. See here how the unicorn club has expanded and select companies to learn more about each.