Wood We Change? : Business Model Innovation Towards Sustainability Transitions: Studying the Wood Construction Industry

Abstract: Innovations based on sustainable technologies have been widely considered as a remedy for addressing societal and environmental problems in many industries. However, the large-scale adoption of such innovations goes beyond technology and requires organizing the business in a way that drive industrial transformations across actors and system layers, such as market structures, institutional frames, consumer behavior, and business values. The aim of this dissertation is to understand how industrial firms organize for system change towards sustainability. The study is a compilation of two papers within the same research context: the development of sustainable technology in the construction industry. The overlapping unit of analysis for both papers is business model innovation. Paper I examines how industry firms combine and complement business models with different innovation types to accelerate sustainable technology. Paper II identifies how a change in the business model and value creation logic that occur on a firm level accelerate sustainable technology and shape the socio-technical system. Together, both papers help paint a more complete picture of the business model role in transitions towards sustainability. The theoretical frame of this dissertation spans several domains: business model, innovation management, and sustainability transitions. Building on a multi-disciplinary premise, the study takes into account the organizational and the systemic parts of the change process by linking the company perspective (business models) to the wider governance of sustainability transitions. The findings underline the importance of business models that combine production efficiency with higher customer engagement and more collective value creation for driving larger-scale transitions toward sustainability. Moreover, business models in combination with different innovation types, such as product, process and positioning, act together and complement each other to achieve high sustainability and business outcomes. 

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