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Session Overview
21-AM-09: ST11.5 - Sustainable Development and Transitions. Strategies, Technological Development, and Policies.
Friday, 21/Jun/2019:
8:30am - 10:00am

Session Chair: Hervé Dumez, i3-CRG, Ecole Polytechnique
Session Chair: Sandra Renou, i3-CRG, Ecole Polytechnique
Location: Amphi Grégory

Session Abstract

Contemporary economies are engaged in multiple transitions, whose commonality is sustainable development, i.e. the concern to protect the environment and future generations. The purpose of this track is to shed light on the concept of transition in its empirical and theoretical dimensions by confronting the transition domains (energy, climate, mobility, digital, smart city, etc.) and the processes that articulate strategies of private actors, technological development and public policies.

The track will call for both conceptual (on the notions of transition, governance, process, dynamics, collective action) and empirical (case studies on energy, mobility, digital, etc.) contributions that deal but are not restricted to the following questions:

• Public / private interactions at global, national and territorial levels

• Consumer empowerment and its role in transition processes

• The articulation of individual and collective strategies and the role of governance in it

• The role of digital (blockchain, big data, smart grids, smart consumption, mobility, etc.) in all transitions in progress

• The role of instruments (economic incentives, nudge, regulation) and indicators in transitions

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The valuation of sustainable innovations

Thomas Reverdy1,2

1Grenoble-INP, France; 2PACTE (CNRS)


Many sustainable innovations are disadvantaged in the competition from existing technologies and are struggling to succeed. As the diffusion of innovation is depending on the economic equilibria, their promoters need to obtain different kinds of public support or regulatory change that could reduce their handicaps.


To analyze the process by which environmental benefits of innovations are valued in economic terms, we can follow the pragmatic approach of valuation (Dewey, 1939) updated by market studies scholars (Kjellberg et al., 2013). The concept of valuation focuses on the social practices by which goods or services are valued in economic terms, taking into account moral and political issues. Valuation contains qualifying contributions and calculating, negotiating, maintaining, or contesting economic value. Research using that concept tends to overcome the division between economic calculation and moral, political assessment by showing how different practices of judgment can be interwoven (Dubuisson-Quellier, 2013). The concept of valuation therefore seems relevant to study how the promoters of these innovations succeed in demonstrating the environmental benefits and try to influence the conditions by which the project or the innovation can be funded (Cointe, 2015).

Literature Gap

In their strategy, they are taking into account technical equivalence economic reasoning, the administrative and judicial practices (Fourcade, 2011) that are available to convert environmental benefit assessments into economic valuation (Ehrenstein, Muniesa, 2013).

Research Questions

The main objective of this communication is to propose a systematic framework for analyzing the valuation processes. It will be an opportunity to identify some dimensions of the valuation process that have not been enough discussed by existing research on valuation of sustainable innovations.


This framework is based on a literature review of existing case studies of innovation in the field of renewable energies and green technologies. Some cases have already been analyzed through this concept of valuation (Pallesen 2016, Doganova, Karnoe, 2015), some have not (Van Lente, Bakker, 2010). We will introduce also some new cases of technological innovations on which we have conducted empirical investigations: modulation of electricity consumption, green gas, power-to-gas. For each case, we have written a detailed monograph based on document analysis and interviews.

Empirical Material

The monographs reflect the exploration process by which innovation promoters manage both to mobilize around them and to design valuation modalities that are politically and institutionally acceptable and appropriate for their innovation strategy.


The communication will highlight four major modes of valuation and analyses their interrelation into the valuation process of a new technology, a new service or a project. These four modes are constructed mainly according to the economic design of the instrument: the coverage of costs, the compensation of the socioeconomic value, the integration of environmental impact through economic instruments, the construction of the environmental preference of the consumers. But our objective is to show that each kind of instruments have specific political implication, in terms of institutional constraints (ex: competition policy), moral and political value (solidarity, autonomy, entrepreneurship…), political perimeter (local, regional, national, European…), economic uncertainty (windfall profit, inefficiency…). Each instrument has also specific implications for the innovation promoters in terms of political mobilization (argumentation, side of the mobilization, intermediaries, political target…) and in terms of economic results (economic uncertainty, market size, potential rent)…

Contribution to Scholarship

The identification of these different evaluation methods will allow innovation management researchers to better understand the challenges and strategies of innovation promoters when it comes to influencing the economic and institutional context.

Contribution to Practice

The identification of the different processes by which sustainable innovation can be valued allows promoters to better understand the conditions for its success. In this field, any technical or organizational innovation is also an institutional innovation insofar as the promoter of the innovation must also contribute to creating the institutional environment in which its innovation will be valued.


The aim of this communication is to study the relationship between innovation strategy and regulatory practices. The context is the ecological transition in the energy sector.


Cointe, B. (2015). From a promise to a problem: The political economy of solar photovoltaics in France. Energy Research & Social Science, 8, 151–161.

Dewey, J. (1939). Theory of valuation. International Encyclopedia of Unified Science.

Doganova, L., & Karnøe, P. (2015). Building markets for clean technologies: Controversies, environmental concerns and economic worth. Industrial Marketing Management, 44, 22–31.

Dubuisson-Quellier, S. (2013). A market mediation strategy: How social movements seek to change firms’ practices by promoting new principles of product valuation. Organization Studies, 34(5–6), 683–703.

Ehrenstein, V., & Muniesa, F. (2013). The conditional sink: Counterfactual display in the valuation of a carbon offsetting reforestation project. Valuation Studies, 1(2), 161–188.

Fourcade, M. (2011). Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of “Nature” 1. American Journal of Sociology, 116(6), 1721–77.

Kjellberg, H., Mallard, A., Arjaliès, D.-L., Aspers, P., Beljean, S., Bidet, A., … others. (2013). Valuation studies? Our collective two cents, 1,1, p 11-30

Pallesen, Trine. “Valuation Struggles over Pricing–determining the Worth of Wind Power.” Journal of Cultural Economy, 2016, 1–14.

Schot, J., & Rip, A. (1997). The past and future of constructive technology assessment. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 54(2–3), 251–268.

Smith, A., & Raven, R. (2012). What is protective space? Reconsidering niches in transitions to sustainability. Research Policy, 41(6), 1025–1036.

Van Lente, H., & Bakker, S. (2010). Competing expectations: the case of hydrogen storage technologies. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 22(6), 693–709.

Managing stakeholders in urban innovation implementation: An explorative analysis of drivers and barriers

Julia Kroh

Kiel University, Germany


Urban innovations have the aim to restructure existing urban structures in a sustainable and innovative way. They are necessarily realized in a city’s complex ecosystem, and heavily rely on tacit knowledge from heterogeneous stakeholder groups, thereby leading to implementation barriers from both well-known innovation types, process and service innovations.


Urban innovations are any redefinitions of the urban space like the reconfiguration of stakeholder alliances, and the renovation and restructuring of urban districts (Dente and Coletti, 2011; Mieg, 2012). Urban innovations are becoming increasingly relevant due to, for example, the world population’s steady growth, with more than half living in urban areas, and the increasing demand for smart and integrated urban solutions like smart cities (Zygiaris, 2013; Khomsi, 2016). From an actor-network theory (ANT) perspective, urban innovation activities rely on a coordinated set of heterogeneous stakeholders, which interact to develop and diffuse goods and services (Callon, 1991). ANT fits the urban innovation context well, because their implementation affords a high interaction intensity with and between stakeholder groups (e.g., Murdoch, 2000). The ANT perspective allows analyzing the complex human and non-human aspects of urban areas (e.g., Farías and Bender, 2012), thereby revealing certain implementation barriers and strategies to overcome those barriers.

Literature Gap

Recent innovation management research does not take urban innovation as stand-alone innovation type into consideration, and so far, rather policy papers than theory-driven research exist. Drawing on ANT and innovation and stakeholder management literature, this study initiates the new research field of urban innovation.

Research Questions

Considering the systemic and complex structure of a city’s ecosystem, this article aims at answering the three following research questions: First, which stakeholder groups are the relevant in urban innovation implementation? Second, which implementation barriers do those groups face? Third, which strategies support organizations in implementing urban innovations?


Using an explorative approach, this study is based on qualitative data (semi-structured interviews). The interview guide was based on a first literature review on innovation resistance, and ecosystems. Two individual coders coded the interviews to ensure inter-coder reliability. Based on the literature review, a reference guide comprising 10 main categories (e.g., urban innovation definition, innovation resistance, innovation drivers) was deductively developed and refined by adding further subcategories (Mayring, 2015). After that, the subcategories were intensively analyzed and interpreted from an ANT perspective.

Empirical Material

Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts from a German urban innovation initiative that aims at creating and implementing urban innovations with focus on green districts. Those experts, for example, architects, city planners, and employees from energy suppliers and urban administration, are part of a project team that developed urban innovations like a new heat and mobility infrastructure. This project team initiates later on the implementation of such urban innovations that afford the integration of further stakeholder groups, among others private owners, inhabitants, energy suppliers, and planning offices. Data was collected in personal or telephone interviews with length between 30 and 60 minutes and analyzed as described above.


The results highlight that urban innovations cannot be developed and implemented without involving the urban ecosystem’s stakeholders. An urban innovation is therefore context-specific and its implementation depends on the district’s stakeholder structures and the urban fabric. For example, the age of inhabitants, which are one of the most influential stakeholder groups, their financial possibilities for innovation implementation, and the ownership structure (e.g., private owners, real estate companies) heavily influence urban innovation implementation. Drawing on ANT, the implementation processes should thus be designed as described in the following to achieve high implementation rates: Firstly, the urban structure has to be assessed to identify key stakeholders, multipliers from industry and private, and their already established networks. Secondly, such stakeholders have to be “interessed” by individual incentives like by financial grants. Innovative communication channels and short implementation time horizons support those processes. Thirdly, further stakeholder networks have to be established, thereby using synergies to other urban initiatives that may not directly focus on innovation. Being transparent about the urban innovation ensures its actual implementation, the fourth step, where appropriate teams are built and partners are chosen to invest in urban innovation (Callon and Law, 1997; Latour, 2005).

Contribution to Scholarship

In an exploratory approach, this study stimulated a new research field and proposed future avenues for a new theory of urban innovation by introducing the term urban innovation in innovation management literature. Furthermore, the article merged insights from innovation management literature with actor-network theory, thereby validating ANT and transferring it to a new context. The study additionally reveals valuable insights for stakeholder management literature, as urban innovation implementation depends on heterogeneous stakeholder groups and their interaction. Governing urban innovation implementation therefore always means to account for different stakeholders’ needs. Further, the results promote the discussion on dealing with innovation resistance in complex innovation processes like urban innovation by giving theoretically-driven strategies to overcome such implementation resistance.

Contribution to Practice

The study provides practical implications for urban innovation development and implementation that mainly address firms, but also policy makers and public institutions. The results suggest that organizations should not simply transfer processes and knowledge from classical innovation management without taking the complexity of urban innovations and their stakeholder network into account. Managers should identify key stakeholders, their goals, and networks to develop incentives that merge the stakeholders’ individual goals. This may require innovative communication channels and needs to be accompanied by appropriate implementation partners. Those steps are generally applicable so that they fit the requirements of each urban innovation project.


Urban innovations afford the cooperation of public and private stakeholder groups, thereby bridging research, industry, and society. While research may deliver innovative and integrated city-specific solutions, industry has the resource base to finance their implementation, which may fail without the acceptance of the society (i.e., inhabitants and private owners).


Callon, M. and Law, J. 1997. After the individual in society: Lessons on collectivity from science, technology and society. Canadian Journal of Sociology. 22(2), 165-182.

Callon, M., 1991. Techno-economic networks and irreversibility. In: Law, J. (Ed.), A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination. London: Routledge.

Dente, B. and Coletti, P. 2011. Measuring governance in urban innovation. Local Government Studies. 37(1), 43-56.

Farías, I. and Bender, T. 2012. Urban assemblages: How actor-network theory changes urban studies. New York: Routledge.

Khomsi, M. R. 2016. The smart city ecosystem as an innovation model: Lessons from Montreal. Technology Innovation Management Review. 6(11), 26-31.

Latour, B. 2005. Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mayring, P. 2015. Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz.

Mieg, H. A. 2012. Sustainability and innovation in urban development: concept and case. Sustainable Development. 20(4), 251-263.

Crowdfunding a Sustainable Future? A Systematic Review on Crowdfunding and Sustainability

Peter Wehnert

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany


While sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs are important contributors to sustainable development due to their special capabilities to innovate radically, they face high hurdles to acquire financing. Crowdfunding may pose a remedy but the knowledge about its role for sustainable entrepreneurship is scattered. Towards a better understanding I conduct a systematic literature review.


Choi and Gray (2008) describe that traditional investors are typically more likely to invest in purely profit-oriented ventures than in endeavors pursuing further social or environmental objectives. Due to the unique setting of crowdfunding in which backers individually contribute only comparatively small funds their investment motivations might differ from those of traditional financiers (Belleflamme et al., 2014). In this context, Gerber and Hui (2013) as well as Allison et al. (2015) observed that crowdfundees are largely driven by altruistic or normative motives. Thus, widening financing motives from profit-oriented to also intrinsic motivations may be especially beneficial for sustainability-oriented ventures (e.g., Calic and Mosakowski, 2016). Apart from the financing function, crowdfunding portals can provide sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs a medium to perform co-creation and mass customization, to advertise offers and to assess their market chances (Agrawal et al., 2014; Belleflamme et al., 2014).

Literature Gap

Crowdfunding can contribute to sustainable development by, for instance, addressing financing issues of especially sustainability-oriented ventures but may also pose new challenges. Yet, knowledge about the role of crowdfunding for sustainable entrepreneurship is scattered across various disciplines including engineering, information systems, and innovation management and is not systematically captured.

Research Questions

How and under which boundary conditions can crowdfunding be applied to foster sustainable development?


To systematically capture and synthesize the knowledge on crowdfunding and sustainability I conduct a systematic literature review (SLR). In contrast to conventional reviews, a SLR is a structured method aiming at “synthesizing research in a systematic, transparent, and reproducible manner” (Tranfield et al., 2003, p. 207). SLRs cover not only a quantitative descriptive analysis but also a qualitative theme analysis (Tranfield et al., 2003). SLRs typically consist of a structured process beginning with a planning stage, followed by a scoping exercise, definition of search terms, selection of articles, data analysis, and synthesis of the articles (e.g., Denyer and Tranfield, 2009).

Empirical Material

To date, I am still conducting the SLR. Searching with a list of 21 keywords in the domains of crowdfunding and sustainability I identified 31 relevant articles so far. To facilitate the collection of interdisciplinary publications on CF, sustainability, and entrepreneurship my SLR covers the research databases EBSCO, Scopus, Science Direct, and ABI, as well as the search engine Google Scholar. To guarantee compliance with scientific standards and to ensure the focus on scientific knowledge, in line with other SLRs (e.g., Seuring and Müller, 2008) I included only peer-reviewed publications in English language released in academic journals.


First, I will map the state of research on crowdfunding and sustainability in terms of number of publications, influencing authors, and research gaps.

Second, I will synthesize the knowledge on crowdfunding and sustainability. Based thereon, I will derive a framework summarizing enablers and challenges of the different crowdfunding types for sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship. So far, I found that equity- and lending-based platforms are viewed as attracting mainly extrinsically motivated backers seeking, for example, return of investment (Cholakova et al., 2015) whereas donation- and reward-based crowdfunding types are considered as attracting largely intrinsically motivated crowdfundees who, for instance, contribute because of being fascinated by an idea (Schwienbacher and Larralde, 2010). Accordingly, choosing the right crowdfunding type might be especially relevant for sustainable entrepreneurs. Yet, the average amount of funds raised by each CF type differs dramatically. While successful donation-based initiatives collect 2938 €, reward-based campaigns reach approximately 7000 € on average (Nielsen et al., 2017). The average outcome of successful lending-based campaigns ranges from 7082 € to 79,132 € whereas successful equity-based campaigns reach 504,832 € (European Commission, 2015). Assuming that crowd-investors in equity- and lending-based crowdfunding indeed act more like traditional investors, this is something that sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs need to know.

Contribution to Scholarship

A holistic overview on the actual state of research regarding crowdfunding in the context of sustainability can foster an overall understanding of the context. Concretely, I expect to contribute to further understand the interdependencies between crowdfunding and sustainable entrepreneurship. Based on that, I will give recommendations for future research topics.

Contribution to Practice

The derived framework will provide sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs with a tool that includes recommendations to successfully finance their outcomes. For instance, from synthesizing the literature on motivations and crowdfunding types, I recommend sustainability-oriented ventures to begin with a reward-based campaign and if successful run a second equity-based campaign while emphasizing previous success to convince rather traditional-acting crowdfundees and acquire further financial resources. These findings could be highly important for practice in order to unlock the full potential of crowdfunding for sustainable development.


Crowdfunding is becoming the most important source of financing early stage entrepreneurial ventures posing enormous potentials for especially sustainability-oriented ventures. My SLR will foster a deeper understanding on how crowdfunding can support entrepreneurs in bringing forth sustainability-oriented innovation and will therefore be suited for, e.g., the track on sustainable development.


Agrawal, A., Catalini, C., & Goldfarb, A. 2014. Some simple economics of crowdfunding. Innov. Policy Econ. 14 (1), 63–97.

Allison, T. H., Davis, B. C., Short, J. C., & Webb, J. W. 2015. Crowdfunding in a prosocial microlending environment: Examining the role of intrinsic versus extrinsic cues. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(1), 53-73.

Belleflamme, P., Lambert, T., Schwienbacher, A. 2014. Crowdfunding: tapping the right crowd. J. Bus. Ventur. 29 (5), 585–609.

Calic, G., Mosakowski, E. 2016. Kicking off social entrepreneurship: how a sustainability orientation influences crowdfunding success. J. Manag. Stud. 53 (5), 738–767.

Choi, D.Y., Gray, E.R. 2008. The venture development processes of "sustainable" entrepreneurs. Management Research News 31 (8), 558–569.

Cholakova, M., & Clarysse, B. 2015. Does the possibility to make equity investments in crowdfunding projects crowd out reward‐based investments? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(1), 145-172.

Denyer, D., & Tranfield, D. 2009. Producing a Systematic Review. Sage Publications.

European Commission, 2015. Crowdfunding: mapping EU markets and events study. Available at:

Gerber, E. M., & Hui, J. 2013. Crowdfunding: Motivations and deterrents for participation. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 20(6), 34.

Nielsen, K.R., Gallemore, C., Jespersen, K., 2017. Crowdfunding and Institutional Change, Working Paper. Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen.

Schwienbacher, A., Larralde, B., 2010. Crowdfunding of small entrepreneurial ventures. In: Handbook of Entrepreneurial Finance. Oxford University Press (Forthcoming).

Seuring, S., & Müller, M. 2008. From a literature review to a conceptual framework for sustainable supply chain management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(15), 1699–1710.

Tranfield, D., Denyer, D., Smart, P. 2003. Towards a methodology for developing evidence-informed management knowledge by means of systematic review. Br. J. Manag. 14, 207-222.

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