Evolutionary perspectives on adoption of the eco-service concept

Cook, M. B. and Bhamra, T. A. (2002). Evolutionary perspectives on adoption of the eco-service concept. In: Towards Sustainable Product Design 7th International Conference, 28-29 Oct 2002, London, U.K..

URL: http://www.cfsd.org.uk/events/tspd7/abstract-matt%...


This paper is concerned with understanding the limits to the utility of the product based eco-services concept as a strategic response to environmental and economic pressures by small and medium sized firms from the electronics manufacturing sector. Whilst an increasing number of firms in this sector are undertaking service innovation an eco-service innovation trajectory exists in only partial and very weak form. This paper seeks to understand this phenomena by evaluating the utility of the eco-services concept from the adopters perspective. This process is supported by multiple sources of primary data collected from extensive fieldwork.

The theoretical approach draws on evolutionary perspectives of technological change and process views of inward technology transfer and assimilation literatures. From this many of the fundamental assumptions which are implicit to much of the eco-services literatures are revealed most importantly; trajectories of service innovation in manufacturing sectors provide opportunities for the development of new eco-service trajectories (along which new products are developed that satisfy demand at increased resource efficiencies); an eco-service technological trajectory can be deliberately developed; and that development can occur in a planned and prescribed ‘rationalistic’ manner.

Results from analysis challenge these assumptions and the utility of the eco-service concept within this context. Whilst service innovation trajectories are prevalent in the UK electronics manufacturing sector there exists considerable barriers to adoption and subsequent development of an eco-service technological trajectory. This paper reports these barriers and identifies policy levers to increase firms receptivity to the eco-services concept.

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