Towards sustainable evolution of bioeconomy: The role of technology and innovation management
The bioeconomy has a great potential to contribute to the transformation process of industry landscape and ultimately drive the economy towards sustainability. However, bioeconomy per se is not necessarily sustainable and technology should be an enabler rather than a panacea to all our ecological, social, and economic issues. Therefore, to draw and maximize benefits from bioeconomy in terms of sustainability, we propose that innovative activities should encompass not only novel technologies and bio-based new materials but also multifocal innovations where innovation management plays a substantial role. The knowledge generation and innovation are although at the core of transition towards a more sustainable bio-based economy, to date, there is a significant lack of concepts and models that approach bioeconomy from the innovation management approach. The aim of this paper is to conduct a qualitative literature study on the sustainability challenges that bioeconomy entails thus far using literature databases. Based on our analysis we found that a successful transition to sustainable bioeconomy is conditioned on heterogenous and contested factors in terms of stakeholders, activities, and modes of innovation. In addition, multifocal innovations occur when actors from interdisciplinary fields engage in intensive and continuous interaction where the focus of innovation is allocated to a field of mutually evolving sociotechnical practices that correspond to the aims of the novel paradigm of transformative innovation policy. Firms, therefore, require skilled professionals that have certain capabilities and skills such as: foresight for future markets, ability to deal with complex issues, ability to guide responsible R&D, ability of strategic decision making, manage in-depth innovation systems analysis including value chain analysis. Policy makers, on the other hand, need to acknowledge the essential role of firms in the transformative innovation policy paradigm.