Collaborative Business Models for Energy Efficient Solutions An Exploratory Analysis of Danish and German Manufacturers: An Exploratory Analysis of Danish and German Manufacturers

Britta Boyd, Alexander Brem, Marcel Bogers, Cong Wang, Silke Tegtmeier

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


The growing dynamics of innovation and productivity affect businesses in most industries and countries. Companies face these challenges by constantly developing new technologies and business models - the logic with which they create and capture value (Afuah, 2014; Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010; Zott, Amit, & Massa, 2011). Especially in the face of the grand challenge of climate change, looking for energy efficient solutions offers particular opportunities to businesses to stay competitive. This is an opportunity not only for big companies in metropolitan areas, but also for small and medium sized companies in rural areas. In the region of Sønderjylland, Danish and German manufacturing companies and initiatives successfully started to develop clean technologies and reduce carbon emissions. The idea of developing an energy network with existing initiatives and companies in the region to facilitate more energy efficient solutions seems to pay off. News items in media like “The Guardian” show at least that there is supraregional attention (Guardian, 2015). We tap into these developments through a study of exploring collaborations and business models that have the potential to increase energy efficient growth in the region. The investigation started with collecting data on emissions, performance and innovation of companies over a longer period of time. The data revealed best cases that will be investigated further by interviewing the companies regarding their stakeholder networks and business models. Mapping the ecosystem and companies within it will offer a basis for initiating collaborative business models that build on innovation across multiple stakeholders within the ecosystem (Adner & Kapoor, 2010, Chesbrough & Bogers, 2014). On this basis, the study aims at further developing existing energy network and innovative business models for energy efficient solutions. In order to carry out the above research activities, a first-stage screening of Southern Danish and Northern German companies that are energy efficient and of high performance is crucial to our research. By conducting an exploratory research we aim to define the problem that underlies the opportunities we want to explore more clearly (Stebbins, 2001). A questionnaire was sent out to 1,900 Danish and 2,000 German companies. With an approximate response rate of 10 percent 329 Danish and 110 German firms answered. The questions included the development of general performance and employee data, the competitive situation, green products and services, energy sources, innovation, sustainable investments and further. Here, our objective is to identify the successful cases of Danish and German firms, which consume less energy, emit less carbon dioxide and other environmental pollutants but sustained high innovation and financial performance. Based on the first-stage screening results, a second stage interview and survey data collection specifically directed to these successful cases can then be carried out to find out the uniqueness of these cases in terms of collaborative activities, process innovation, product developments, which are fundamental parts of a firm’s business model. For the second stage, qualitative interviews in form of a focus group study will be carried out. In the first-stage screening 30 companies could be identified who agreed to be contacted again. These companies are invited to discuss their energy efficient solutions and collaborative business models in a focus group at the University. This form of qualitative research includes a group of people with similar characteristics or features. In a focus group study, questions are asked in an interactive setting (Krueger & Casey, 2014). Especially innovations and collaborations with other organizations will be investigated in qualitative interviews and discussions. Focusing on the case of the Sønderjylland region the results aim to inform local stakeholders about which types of action would enable the development of a more effective entrepreneurial ecosystem. The research analysis follows case study methodology, and builds on interviews, observations and secondary data as information sources, combined with a rigid analysis based on grounded theory principles (Dougherty, 2002; Yin, 2009; van der Borgh et al. 2012). The expected outcomes of the project will depend on the collaborations with companies in the region. Based on primary and secondary data analysis we are seeking direct contact to companies and discuss their sustainability efforts, energy efficiency and innovation management. Then, based on the findings open and collaborative business models could be suggested. Open business models get more important because innovation no longer takes place within a single organization, but are distributed across stakeholders in a value network (Bogers & West, 2012). The expected outcome of new collaborative business models could be in the area of a circular economy, resource efficiency or energy storage. The project is seen as a starting point to increase interdisciplinary research in this domain and ultimately export solutions to other regions of the world.
Publikationsdato6. okt. 2016
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 6. okt. 2016
Begivenhed20th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation - HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Leipzig, Tyskland
Varighed: 6. okt. 20167. okt. 2016
Konferencens nummer: 20


Konference20th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation
LokationHHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management


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