Sustainability Transitions and IP: The transition to global sustainable development is an urgent challenge. In 2015, countries globally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Unmet needs in areas such as education, health, energy, sanitation and financial services in developing countries require solutions and offer businesses a vast opportunity for growth. In developed countries, the focus should be on mitigating unsustainable production and consumption patterns . Sustainability transitions rely on cooperation between organisations in the innovation ecosystems, shaped by technological, regulatory, cultural and psychological, demand and supply factors, as well as infrastructure and maintenance . Value-chains often span across industries and developing and developed countries. Accordingly, a shift to sustainable manufacturing and consumption is only possible as a combined effort. With new knowledge being at the core of many sustainable technologies and related business models, we argue that the selection of adequate IP models is an imperative for unlocking innovation and accelerating diffusion processes, thereby encouraging sustainability transitions on a global scale. Given their accelerating and blocking effects, in the context of sustainability transitions, the range of IP models remains to be systematically studied, holistically categorized and their impact to be assessed.
Targeted Outcome and Impact
- IP model typology
- Sustainable business model (BM) typology
- Framework and tools to select IP models for sustainable businesses
- Sustainability transition indicators for IP
- Training and teaching kit
- Policy briefing documents
- Long-term international research community building
- Awareness on IP models for sustainability
- Training and teaching for practitioners and students
- Guadiance on adoption of IP models facilitating sustainability transition
Objectives and Research Questions
IPACST aims to develop evidence-based insights into IP models and how they accelerate sustainability transitions. This enables stakeholders of sustainability transitions to select suitable IP models in different situations. To contribute to a comprehensive understanding of IP models for sustainability transitions we bring together the fields of sustainability, IP and innovation management, together with political sciences and engineering addressing the following questions:
1) Which IP models do exist of relevance for sustainability transitions and how can they be typologized (e.g. from closed to completely open)?
2) Which IP models are employed by sustainable businesses and how do they match with sustainable business models? What is the role (inhibiting, stimulating) of IP models in adopting sustainable business models?
3) How do different types of IP models and business models accelerate (or prevent) the development, adoption and diffusion of sustainable innovations? Under what conditions (technological, regulatory, cultural, demand-supply factors, infrastructures) do different IP models best accelerate sustainability transitions?
4) What can we learn from best practice in sustainable businesses? What successful models exist? What are ideal combinations of sustainable business models and underlying IP models?
- IP strategies can be categorized along a spectrum from closed to open (further framework development)
- Results imply that firms employ multiple of strategies either in parallel or sequentially (evolutionary effect)
- Issue of comparing sustainable impact
 Bocken, N., Fil, A. & J. Prabhu (2016). Scaling up social businesses in developing markets. J. of Cleaner Production,139, 295-308.
 Chambers, D., Glasgow, R. & K. Stange (2013). The dynamic sustainability framework: addressing the paradox of sustainment amid ongoing change. Implementation Science, 8, 117.
Elzen, B., Geels, F. & K. Green (2004). System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability: Theory, Evidence & Policy. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing.
Geels, F. (2010). Ontologies, socio-technical transitions (to sustainability), and the multi-level perspective. Research Policy, 39, 495-510.
Kemp, R., Schot, J. & R. Hoogma (1998). Regime shifts to sustainability through processes of niche formation. The approach of strategic niche management. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management,10, 175-195.
IPACST – Funding
IPACST is a project of the NORFACE & Belmont Forum Research Programme: Transformations to Sustainability
- German Federal Ministry of Education and Research/German Aerospace Center, BMBF/DLR
- Swedish Research Council, VK
- UK Research and Innovation, Economic and Social Research Council, UKRI-ESRC