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The Three Roles of Business Models for Socio-technical Transitions

In: Huizingh, K.; Conn, S.; Torkkeli, M. & Bitran, I. (Eds.): The Proceedings of XXV ISPIM Conference – Innovation for Sustainable Economy and Society, 8-11 June 2014, Dublin, Ireland.

14 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2014 Last revised: 2 Sep 2016

Christina Melanie Bidmon

Aarhus BSS, University of Aarhus

Sebastian Knab

Universität Hamburg, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This paper explores the role of business models for socio-technical transitions, i.e. large-scale changes in the way societal functions are fulfilled. In a first conceptual attempt it integrates research on business models and research on transitions. Using the multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions we show that business models can impact transitions in their roles as (1) devices to commercialize technological innovation, (2) a dominant business model logic that is part of the current socio-technical regime and (3) niche innovation competing with this dominant business model logic. Our findings theoretically underpin why non-technological innovation, such as business model innovation, has a higher leverage on achieving radical societal shifts than technological innovation. Exploring the role of business models for transitions is of relevance to researchers and practitioners trying to understand the dynamics behind transitions, such as the ones required for a shift towards more sustainable consumption and production.

Keywords: Business model innovation, business models, business models for sustainability, socio-technical transitions, system innovation, sustainability transitions, multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions, transition management

Suggested Citation

Bidmon, Christina Melanie and Knab, Sebastian, The Three Roles of Business Models for Socio-technical Transitions (2014). In: Huizingh, K.; Conn, S.; Torkkeli, M. & Bitran, I. (Eds.): The Proceedings of XXV ISPIM Conference – Innovation for Sustainable Economy and Society, 8-11 June 2014, Dublin, Ireland.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447647

Sebastian Knab

Universität Hamburg, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Von-Melle-Park 9, B 534
Hamburg, 20146
Germany

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