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Ecodesign... as an Innovation-friendly Competence-enhancing Process

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As sustainable development practices expand among companies, innovation appears more and more as a required path to progress towards the integration of ecological concerns at the very heart of business activities. Ecodesign not only requires this integration but can also be a concrete tool for its implementation (Le Pochat, 2005). Our results show that while implementing ecodesign practices, companies mobilize existing competences, that they combine with new ones. These new competences originate from exploration-orientated external cooperations. This original combination of competences paves the way for an internal research, made mostly of exploitation but still including some exploration projects. Long-term continuous innovation (Verona, Ravasi, 2003) requires an appropriate balance between exploration and exploitation. The litterature refers to this balance as « ambidexterity ». The present paper provides evidence for a competence development process associated to the implementation of ecodesign. By combining contextual and network ambidexterity, this process promotes a continuous stream of innovation.

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Caroline Julie Ney

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