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Management of radical innovation and environmental challenges: Development of the DryQ capacitor at ABB

Gunilla Ölundh Sandström (School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)
Johan Tingström (School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 25 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the driving forces for taking environmental considerations to a higher level in a project involving radical innovation.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative case study is based on ten in‐depth interviews with respondents from the development team for the DryQ project at ABB.

Findings

In order to achieve substantial environmental benefits, radical product development is essential. Radical product development has attributes that differ from those of incremental product development. It is important that these differences be acknowledged when preparing to manage environmental challenges in development projects. In radical product development, environmental considerations should be taken into account very early on, at the strategic level of the design process. Setting challenging environmental targets and rewarding environmental improvements was crucial to the outcome of the project presented in this paper.

Research limitations/implications

The research presented here describes one case in one manufacturing company. Readers can, however, learn from this case and apply the insights gained to their own research or use the findings to promote new thinking in their own organisation.

Practical implications

Suggestions are made about how to manage environmental considerations in radical product development.

Originality/value

Few studies combine ecodesign and radical innovation theories, as is done here. Yet this is not a theoretical paper but an industry‐based study of eco‐innovation, from which researchers and practitioners can learn.

Keywords

Citation

Ölundh Sandström, G. and Tingström, J. (2008), "Management of radical innovation and environmental challenges: Development of the DryQ capacitor at ABB", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 182-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/14601060810869857

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited