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Overcoming Competence Lock-In for the Development of Radical Eco-Innovations: The Case of Biopolymer Technology


  • Avrath Chadha


The plastics industry is trying to avoid the price spiral of fossil fuels by utilizing renewable resources and simultaneously aims to contribute to the fight against climate change. Hence, this industry is in the midst of a hybridization process where it needs to build competencies in the field of radical eco-innovations such as biopolymer technology. However, the extent of required competencies for industry-wide biopolymer technology development and diffusion is not well understood yet. This paper explores and analyzes which competencies the plastics industry applies for the development of biopolymer technology by presenting results of case studies conducted with eight German and Swiss firms. The results suggest that firms build up competencies in inter-firm alliances, independent project houses, technology monitoring cross-functional integration and bootleg research. The findings improve the understanding of the challenges of radical eco-innovations and provide examples how the plastics industry can foster innovative competencies in established R&D processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Avrath Chadha, 2011. "Overcoming Competence Lock-In for the Development of Radical Eco-Innovations: The Case of Biopolymer Technology," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 335-350.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:indinn:v:18:y:2011:i:3:p:335-350
    DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2011.561032

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    Cited by:

    1. Grazia Cecere & Nicoletta Corrocher & C├ędric Gossart & Muge Ozman, 2014. "Lock-in and path dependence: an evolutionary approach to eco-innovations," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 1037-1065, November.
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:77:y:2017:i:c:p:525-535 is not listed on IDEAS


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