Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

THE FINAL MANUSCRIPT FOR SPECIAL ISSUE: ECOINNOVATION OF INNOVATION: MANAGEMENT, POLICY AND PRACTICE: Identifying Core Environmental Technologies through Patent Analysis

Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

THE FINAL MANUSCRIPT FOR SPECIAL ISSUE: ECOINNOVATION OF INNOVATION: MANAGEMENT, POLICY AND PRACTICE: Identifying Core Environmental Technologies through Patent Analysis

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Nowadays, environmental issues such as improving life quality, dealing with climate change and managing water resources have been given more and more attention. The market size of the global environmental industry was approximately US$800 billion in 2010 and it is expected to grow to over US$1,000 billion in 2017. Furthermore, most fields in the environmental industry are at the stage of initial market formation and thus, the growth potential of the environmental industry is very high. Countries all over the world are establishing eco-friendly policies for economic growth; in particular, developed countries like the US, Japan and the EU regard eco-innovation as an opportunity for economic growth with sustainability. Although defining eco-innovation is not an easy task, in general, literatures emphasize that eco-innovations reduce the environmental impact caused by consumption and production activities, whether the main motivation for their development or deployment is environmental or not (Carrillo-Hermosilla, Del Río, & Könnölä, 2010).

Research issues related to eco-innovation can be summarised into four categories (Kemp & Pearson, 2007). The first is the innovation of environmental technologies (ETs). The second is the introduction of organizational methods and management systems for dealing with environmental issues in production and product. The third is new or environmentally improved products and environmentally beneficial services. The last is the innovation of green system such as biological agriculture system and renewables-based energy system. Among them, the innovation of ETs is regarded as a crucial issue, since ETs play the fundamental role in eco-innovation and influence the direction of other issues (Foray & Grübler, 1996; Petruzzelli, Dangelico, Rotolo, & Albino, 2011). The rise of the greening of markets has been pointed to as part of an overall paradigm change of ET. (Andersen, 2008). Due to the intractable complexity and volatility of ETs, it becomes more important to grasp the technological trends and advances by analyzing the overall structure of ETs and interaction among them (Kemp & Oltra, 2011). Identifying and assessing technological advances critical to the company's competitive position is now recognized as a crucial activity for achieving and maintaining competitive positions in eco-innovation fields. It is considered to be indispensable, in particular, for the innovation of ETs that seek technological possibilities through technological fusion among various fields of technologies. Consequently, there have been attempts to identify the technological structure and relationship among ETs.

The identification of the technological structure and relationship among ETs is primarily conducted through the patent analysis (Markatou, 2012). It is reported that patents contain about 80% of all the knowledge of technological innovation (Blackman, 1995). Moreover, they can be easily accessed and analyzed through various types of public or private databases. In spite of controversial discussions regarding the limitations of patent analysis (Archibugi & Pianta, 1996; Ernst, 2003), patents have a unique advantage of quantitativeness over the conceptual or qualitative approaches. Also, they contain empirical information with regard to most innovation in developed countries. Patents are, hence, perceived as useful information for measuring eco-innovation (Kemp & Oltra, 2011).

The most commonly used information of patents is citation and co-classification. Citation analysis is based on the citation relationship among different patents, assuming that the knowledge of a cited patent is transferred to a citing patent, and there exists a technological linkage between them (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2009; Lee & Kim, 2010). The identification of the structure of ETs with citation information is mainly conducted by analyzing the number of cited patents (Acosta, Coronado, & Fernández, 2009; Arundel & Kemp, 2009; Popp, 2006) and citation networks (Nemet, 2012; Wu, Hsu, Lee, & Su, 2011). …

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