Second wind for exploitation: Pursuing high degrees of product and process innovativeness in mature industries
Journal article, 2020

This paper investigates to what extent and how an exploitation-oriented innovation logic can enable innovations characterised by a high degree of newness. The paper is based on an embedded case study of 11 innovation initiatives by the Swedish pulp and paper companies and uses a multi-dimensional framework that takes into account both product and process innovation dimensions as well as multiple stages in the value chain. The results show that the studied initiatives are characterised by new to the companies or new to the industry products and processes in the primary or final steps in the value chain (or both). It is also shown that such high degrees of novelty can be the result of an exploitation innovation logic, where novelty is enabled and facilitated by unchanged or slightly modified products and processes in other parts of the value chain. It can therefore be concluded that exploitation strategies can contribute to more than incremental innovation outcomes and, consequently, that mature industries hold considerably higher innovation potential than the previous literature assumes.


Process innovation

Mature industries

Innovation initiatives

Pulp and paper industry

supply chain

Product innovation


Ksenia Onufrey

Linköping University

Anna Bergek

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Environmental Systems Analysis


0166-4972 (ISSN)

Vol. 89 102068

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Business Administration

Driving Forces

Innovation and entrepreneurship



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