Success and failure factors for grass-fibre innovations
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Introduction Despite several successful pilots, no technological invention, regarding high value application of grass-fibres, has made it to a successful scale-up. For the biowaste sector, it is useful to have insights that can guide them to either invest in ideas that have more potential to become successful or design the innovation process in such a way that the innovation will have a better chance to become successful. Therefore, the following research question was adopted: What are the drivers and barriers for innovations in extraction and application of roadside grass-fibre, and can patterns be detected? Theory Inductive research was used to answer the research question. The Technological Innovation System (TIS) was used as a framework to categorize and analyse processes that hamper or support the scale up. Methodology This research used a multi-case study approach and analysed five cases. Using qualitative data, a total of 24 function indicators were developed and assessed. Overall, 18 interviews were conducted among 13 interviewees. Four interviews focused on determining the case studies, seven were held with other relevant actors for general information on grass-fibre innovations, and seven were conducted on the different case studies. Prior to the case study interviews, interviewees filled out a survey, scoring indicators on a nominal scale. The survey brought insights on relevant indicators and served to design the semi-structured interviews. Results For six out of seven TIS functions there was "Room for Improvement”. The only function that was not considered a barrier is (Technical) Knowledge Development. Conclusion The technical development of innovative products is often not the problem, market penetration is. This research found three prominent barriers that need to be addressed first: - Late market engagement: Current grass-fibre innovations are substitute innovations but only engage the market late in the innovation process. Consequently, valuable input and buy-in from the market lack in the innovation process making it difficult to build a business case for continued investment. - Non-competitiveness of the grass-fibre: The competitiveness of grass-fibre is not significant and varies per end-product, making it a difficult sell to the markets. - Difficulty in implementing Organizational change: The requested organizational change from public entities like roadside managers, to also become a resource supplier to the private market is challenging. The most important drivers include: - Motivation & perseverance of value-chain partners; - Smart Management of existing laws and regulations. This research also calls for refining the TIS theory on two aspects: - The TIS theory should add the Organizational Capacity to Change as an 8th function to the innovation ecosystem. - The TIS should distinguish between radical innovation and substitute innovation when it describes the importance of the functions in the different development stages.
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