P1: Network Analysis and Innovation Management

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As can be deduced from the interdisciplinary character of the graduate program Verbund.NRW, it does not make sense to merely consider individual actors regarding the closed loop economy of innovative composites. Instead, heterogeneous actors with individual interests inside and outside of the construction industry are interconnected and mutually influence each other in networks. Examples of such actors are:

  • local and international developers and producers of composites,
  • standards institutes and certification authorities,
  • actors in planning and construction, such as architectural offices, construction businesses, and logistics companies,
  • actors in the waste management and recycling industries,
  • home-builders as well as end-users of buildings.
 
Example of a network diagram Example of a network diagram

For this reason, this dissertation focuses on the identification and analysis of different networks so as to create a network typology. This network typology is meant to reveal the network structures that either inhibit or promote the use of innovative and resource-efficient composites.

In order to achieve the aforementioned objective, talks will be sought with industrial partners and other actors such as public authorities and associations. In expert interviews, the central constraints regarding the usage of composites shall be identified. Furthermore, the experts shall visualize their network relations with the help of social network diagrams. The next step consists of a qualitative analysis of the gathered data in order to identify, describe, and evaluate various network types regarding their innovation potential.

Finally, the network analysis shall produce recommended courses of action concerning the structuring of networks in a way that increases the probability of successfully launching composite innovations onto the market.