Sustainability Innovation Contests: Evaluating Contributions with an Eco Impact-Innovativeness Typology

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 5, Nos. 2/3, 2011

25 Pages Posted: 2 May 2012  

Erik G. Hansen

Leuphana University Lüneburg - Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)

Angelika Cosima Bullinger

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg; University of Pennsylvania - School of Arts & Sciences

Ralf Reichwald

Technische Universität München - TUM Business School

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Companies operating in business-to-consumer markets have been increasingly pressured to transcend the focus on economic and technological innovations and to address more environmental-friendly and socially desirable products and services, i.e. to engage in Sustainability-oriented Innovation (SOI). This paper examines the suitability of innovation contests to generate SOIs and the resulting degree of innovativeness in conventional and ecological terms. Using a case study of an innovation contest in the shoe industry, we derive three strands of results. First, a large majority of the submissions belongs to the category of product care. Second, submissions categorised as ‘greenwashing’ receive a better average assessment, although technically equal to the ones of product care. Third, using eco-impact class as the first axis, and the (conventional) innovativeness criteria – as judged by the experts – as the second axis, we develop an eco impact-innovativeness grid. It illustrates that a vast majority of user submissions falls into the classes incremental innovation and radical conventional innovation. Results go beyond previous studies and thus contribute to the fields of open innovation and SOI.

Keywords: open innovation, eco innovation, sustainability innovation, innovation process, fuzzy frontend, idea management, idea contest, creativity, evaluation, innovativeness, case study, shoe industry

JEL Classification: Q31, Q32

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Erik G. and Bullinger, Angelika Cosima and Reichwald, Ralf, Sustainability Innovation Contests: Evaluating Contributions with an Eco Impact-Innovativeness Typology (2011). International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, Vol. 5, Nos. 2/3, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2016368

Erik G. Hansen (Contact Author)

Leuphana University Lüneburg - Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) ( email )

Scharnhorststrasse 1
Lüneburg, 21314
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.leuphana.de/en/erik-hansen.html

Angelika Cosima Bullinger

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Nuremberg, Bavaria 91054
Germany

University of Pennsylvania - School of Arts & Sciences ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Ralf Reichwald

Technische Universität München - TUM Business School ( email )

Arcisstrasse 21
Munich, 80333
Germany

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