Patterns of resource interaction in resource constellations: The case of start-ups approaching the Swedish energy system
Doctoral thesis, 2020
Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to develop the understanding of resource interaction in business networks. The theoretical starting point is the Industrial Network Approach to industrial markets, especially resource development through interaction. Particular attention is devoted to the resource interfaces that are created between the resources of start-ups and those of other actors in the business network, and the way these are combined to create value for the involved parties over time.
The empirical setting of the study is the Swedish energy system, which is characterised by long-term business relationships and investments and an urgent need for transformation. The method used is a single case study that describes the innovation journey of three start-ups when approaching resource constellations. The three start-ups focus on novel approaches to renewable energy.
The results of this thesis are manifold. Firstly, the study contributes an analytical model to capture connected resource interfaces in business networks and identify potential hindrances and enablers when embedding new resources into a resource constellation. Consequently, different sequences of connected resource interfaces will occur, forming different resource interaction patterns. Five patterns are identified that can help in estimating the effects of attempting to embed a new resource into a resource constellation. Secondly, the study reveals that exploring the potential versatility of a resource in a resource constellation is a matter of exploring and exploiting resource interfaces within it. Thirdly, the study emphasises the importance of considering not only the known use(s) of a resource but also its potential use(s).
Regarding policy implications, it is important to consider the network of the start-up when investing in start-ups that could be part of transforming the Swedish energy system. It is important to assess the resource collections of a start-up and the potential resource constellation it would be part of to see if any existing resources could act as a ‘bridge’ to the energy system. From a start-up manager’s perspective, it is important to have an awareness of the process of working with certain resource interfaces and how they are connected in order to allow for a start-up’s resources to be embedded into the business network. It is also necessary to find collaboration partners that are willing to make adaptations to their own resource collections.
Swedish energy system
Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management
This thesis deals with innovation and technological development in business networks, specifically how start-ups can develop their ideas into useful products by collaborating with different organisations such as firms and universities.
The thesis uses an inter-organisational perspective and emphasises the key role that interactive resource development plays in a start-up’s development. Hence, it is necessary to zoom in on individual resources to understand how they must be adapted in relation to others, for instance those located within other firms. Importantly, there are often difficulties in the commercialisation process due to previous adaptations and investments made by other organisations.
The Swedish energy system is the empirical study area of the thesis. Today, the energy system has an urgent need to transform into one that is 100% renewable. At the same time, it is characterised by long-term relationships and adaptation and consequently presents barriers to entry. By studying three start-ups’ journeys to develop new renewable technology, it was possible to develop an analytical tool to evaluate potential hindrances and enablers that may impact the interactive resource development process and thus the transition from idea to innovation.
Consequently, to succeed in the commercialisation of ideas in systems characterised by a high degree of technological and organisational adaptation there is a need to understand the network: firstly, to identify the business relationships that may hinder or facilitate the process of embedding a new technology, and secondly, to prioritise which business relationships to invest in by recognising the risk of lock-in effects resulting from existing resource adaptations that may restrict the development of other resources.
Technology-based start-ups as engines for renewable energy
Swedish Energy Agency, 2017-10-01 -- 2019-09-30.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
Other Engineering and Technologies
Economics and Business
Areas of Advance
Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4739
Chalmers University of Technology
Chalmers University of Technology. Online defense.
Opponent: Prof. Enrico Baraldi, Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering, Uppsala University, Sweden