Technovation Special Issue on Innovation and Global Warming
• 大类 : 管理科学 - 1区
• 小类 : 工程：工业 - 1区
• 小类 : 运筹学与管理科学 - 2区
Global warming, also referred to as climate change, is one of the central issues affecting the world and businesses in particular (Henderson, 2018). Many businesses are at the very heart of both the cause and the mitigation effort of Climate Change (George et al, 2016). According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), fossil fuel burning has produced about three-quarters of the increase in CO2from human activity over the past 20 years. Population growth and economic development are the main drivers of increases in greenhouse gas emissions, followed by changes in land-use, particularly deforestation (IPCC, 2014). After the 2015 Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, 195 states, except the US government, have agreed to take initiatives to limit global warming to below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels.
While some organizations see climate change as a threat because of the associated costs and regulatory changes (Lefsrud and Meyer, 2012), others recognize enormous opportunities for technological innovation (UNGC-Accenture, 2015). Eco-innovation is one such example (Cheng, 2012). The adoption of incremental innovation and proven technologies, replacing coal and lignite with wind and solar power (Watanabe et al., 2000), and fossil fuels with biomass (Johnston et al, 2005), can reduce emissions in Germany by up to 80% (Burchardt et al., 2018). Such opportunities are likely to be a reflection of large energy companies’ investments in innovative process technologies that include renewable energy as well as smart grid and energy storage. Wind power and solar energy cost is now at par with carbon energy (Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2018) which contributes to lower the barriers to adoption of those innovative technologies (Viardot et al., 2013).
The mitigation of global warming has also driven some large companies to initiate important process innovations (Linstone, 2011; Lee, 2013) by adopting lean carbon and energy-efficient processes and technologies. In addition to incremental, radical technological innovations will also be necessary in order to achieve the below 2 ℃ goal, especially in the manufacturing sector that is responsible for 30% of GHG emissions. Radical innovation include for instance inflecting reflective particles in the atmosphere (Winter, 2014).
Climate change has also been a driver for product innovation related to consumer demand and changing standards. For example, in the transportation sector, which represents 23% of GHG emissions, the electric car market has been rising fast, with more than 1 million units sold in 2017 and estimated to quadruple by 2020 (Hertzke et al., 2018). Agriculture is also in focus for similar reasons (Smith and Lampkin, 2019). In addition across various other industries there may be a complex consequential set of circumstances that influences innovation opportunity either positively or negatively. Both the environmental effects of climate change in different regions and localities and industries and the commercial and economic effects of industry actions and innovation responses need to be considered. Foresight and road-mapping exercises may be appropriate at several levels to identify requirements and opportunities (e.g. Phaal et al., 2006).
While large companies are reinvesting part of their R&D investments to deal with the opportunities and threats of global warming, small companies are also innovating in that field (Stahlhofer et al., 2018). For instance, more than 30 startups in the world are currently developing new technology to improve different aspects of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems as traditional HVAC use HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), which emit potent greenhouse gases (CB Insights, 2018).
In addition to companies, private investors are also backing the development of breakthrough technologies. Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist has invested about $1bn in various startup firms to advance radical technology development such as new battery storage, nuclear recycling, “solar chemical” power, and free air carbon capture (Adams and Thornhill, 2015). Bill Gates has also enrolled other wealthy private investors, including Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Richard Branson, in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) to commit to investing more than $1 billion in new technologies over the next 20 years (Chaabra, 2015).
Such an array of opportunities driven by climate change has important implications for technology innovation management. In line with the aims and objectives of Technovation to advance TIM research, this Special Issue is looking for studies that increase our understanding of how global warming is impacting the various facets of technological innovation. As business, economic, social or humanitarian pressures in responding to climate change influence future innovation, this Special Issue aims at a deeper and wider understanding of how innovation can be effectively managed to address climate change issues.
We are looking for papers on how organisations can use innovation to more effectively reduce global warming via the development of better technologies (R&D and innovation) or their accelerated utilisation and/or via better organisational structures, systems and strategies to manage R&D and innovation. We also look for research that explores how, why and when organisations respond to the effects of global warming either as a stimulus or deterrent of innovation; this Special Issue aims to showcase how to exploit the former and overcome the latter.
Suggestions of research topics for this special issue are shown below but are not limited to.
How business, economic, social, and humanitarian pressures can and are influencing TIM and the spectrum of R&D and innovation responses to global warming.
How technological innovation related to climate change can more effectively be managed
When and why global warming is considered an incentive or a limitation on technology innovation and R&D strategies.
How changes in business models, organisational structures and systems, industry supply chains and technology networks may contribute to the development of better innovative technology and strategies to mitigate global warming.
Do some approaches to TIM (e.g. open innovation, digital innovation,) need to be adopted more vigorously or creatively? The importance of entrepreneurship in the establishment of original and effective climate change responses. The impact of government policy and other measures on business-driven innovation to mitigate the commercial and/or environmental effects of global warming.
How do customers (consumers and/or organizations) influence companies to adopt more innovative technologies that address global warming?
What are the barriers of adoption of innovative technologies for coping with climate change and how can they be overcome?
How organizational culture towards technology innovation is changing in response to climate change effects.
What drives and empowers small and medium size businesses to respond to climate change effects; how does this compare with larger and public sector organisations and are there any TIM implications or recommendations?