Inderscience Publishers

Strategic innovation in sustainable technology: the case of fuel cells for vehicles

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This paper explores the gap between the implied theoretical 'assumption' that development of technologies for sustainable development should be a smooth evolutionary transition and the reality of such change. Here, we identify a split between macro, long-term models of transition to greater environmental sustainability through innovation, as found in theories of ecological modernisation, techno-economic paradigms and technology transitions and the firm level issues involved. Innovation theory, in contrast, has been concerned with contingent factors affecting the process of technology management and innovation strategy. While long-term models of change are predicated on the necessity of successful development and adoption of novel technologies, more specific, firm-based study of radical innovation demonstrates the complex and disruptive aspects of such change. In this paper, we investigate the interactions between these issues through a case study of fuel cell technology for vehicle propulsion.

Keywords: fuel cells, technology strategy, innovation, sustainability, commercialisation, sustainable development, vehicle propulsion, alternative propulsion

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