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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Integrating stakeholders for urban innovation implementation: The role of formal management methods and tools

Published: May 28, 2019


Julia Kroh, Kiel University; Carsten Schultz, Kiel University


stakeholder; urban innovation; project management


Urban innovations target the development and implementation of collectively used infrastructures and resources in cities, like initiatives for sustainability or smart city solutions. They differ tremendously from well-known innovation types like product, process, and service innovation, because they are necessarily realized in a city’s complex and adaptive ecosystem. Intensive stakeholder integration is therefore decisive for urban innovation implementation, although this relationship is not finally clarified in literature. This study draws on stakeholder theory and project management literature to investigate the impact of stakeholder integration in urban innovation projects on their implementation. We suggest that the efficacy of stakeholder integration depends on the use of formal management methods and tools. Formal management may on the one hand help to cope with the complexity of stakeholder integration but may on the other hand reduce the flexibility and absorptive capacity of the project team. To explore such relationships we analyse 101 documented concepts for energy efficiency improvements in urban districts. Using text mining and survey data, this article provides empirical evidence that (i) intensive stakeholder integration positively affects urban innovations’ implementation, and that (ii) intensive use of formal management methods and tools weakens this effect.