The Relationship Between Firm Innovativeness and Barriers to Business Model Innovation A Study of the Swedish Electricity Retailers’ Shift Towards Broader Incorporation of Solar Energy

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Josefsson, Eric
Edman, Max
The global climate changes are putting pressure on companies across industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The electricity industry is part of this changing landscape, moving towards more renewable alternatives. This has led to the rising attractiveness of solar energy production systems as a means to increase the amount of renewable energy. What this change, posed by an emerging technology, will entail for electricity retail companies is yet uncertain. To guide industry actors through this changeable environment, the aim of this report is to provide indications on the potential relationship between the innovativeness of the firm and encountered barriers when performing business model innovation. Business model innovation is a means to counteract the external forces driving change in the industry, to adopt to the new setting and become competitive. By examining the largest electricity retailers and analysing their business model innovativeness, a set of actors were selected to be included in the empirical data collection. Information was additionally gathered by interviewing these firms, where discussions regarding seven categories of barriers to business model innovation were held. Isolation of innovativeness was based on firm attributes, to disregard other factors to the largest extent possible. This along with grouping firms by other factors revealed interesting findings. The findings indicate that there is no positive relationship between high innovativeness and fewer barriers. However, signs of negative relationship were observed, indicating that there might instead be a relationship between innovativeness of the firm and the ability to overcome and learn from encountered barriers. Moreover, when grouping firms by other factors, findings indicate a potential relationship between encountered barriers and the size of the firm’s customer base, as well as the ownership structure. Implications for future research will be to further study a suggested grouping of barriers to business model innovation, which may explain the unclear relationship between innovativeness and barriers. Additionally, the effect that dimensions of business models have on business model innovation could be studied more closely. Lastly, strategic managers for electricity retailers can become aware of which barriers to business model innovation that are most prevalent, which may be helpful in their aim to handle the transformation of the industry successfully.
Climate change, business model innovation, electricity retailer, emerging technologies, innovativeness of the firm, transformation challenges
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