Het 'implovatie' model : naar een succesvolle diffusie en adoptie van innovaties in de bouwsector

M. Donker-Blacha

Research output: ThesisEngD Thesis

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The world is facing big challenges which have an impact on the construction industry. The challenges can be defined by (1) grand challenges concerning the earth (sustainability), (2) the changing demand of people, (3) the rapidity in which change occurs and (4) new parties entering the sector. The construction industry has an undeniable role in unravelling the challenges and supplying the demands of society. The interest in the needed change vary on the different levels (micro-, meso- and macrolevel) and do not always concur.
There are several innovations developed over the years which tend to solve these challenges and focus on the polluting characteristics of the construction industry. These innovations are called societal innovations, which are innovations act on the social relevance and strive after solving the social demands. Unfortunately these innovations appear to have a slow diffusion in the construction industry.
The research objective in this thesis is therefore to provide insights and understand the variables which influences the diffusion and adoption of innovations, in order to be able to rapid the diffusion process. The main question in this research is: Which variables influences the diffusion and adoption of societal innovations and how can the diffusion process be accelerated, in order for better diffusion and adoption of the innovations so the construction industry can unravel the challenges in a changing world? The answer to this question provides insight on the possibilities for diffusion of societal innovations benefiting both economic as societal needs. In this research the case of the diffusion of the societal innovation Slimbouwen is used to corroborate the results. Slimbouwen is a process innovation that changes the building process by combining social interests, sustainability and economic prospects.
In this research the diffusion theory of Rogers (Rogers, 1983) is used to analyse the factors that influence the diffusion of (societal) innovations. Rogers defines four diffusion-factors: (1) the characteristics of the innovation, (2) the time, (3) the social system and (4) the communication channels. Based on this theory various literature on the innovation process in the construction industry and observations in the field have been analysed.
The research provides a large number of variables (to be precise 161) which influences the diffusion of societal innovations. The variables are divided to the for diffusion-factors of Rogers, but also in general variables influencing the whole sector, variables which influences the demand market and variables which influences the supply market. The culture in the construction industry has strong differences between the demanding and supplying market. Therefore the variables influencing both markets are very different.
Both parties need to be mobilized in order to accelerate the diffusion of societal innovations.
In order to make these variables usable to influence the diffusion process these variables have been further analysed and combined to 25 main categories. These 25 categories can be used as critical success factors to influence the diffusion process. Some factors address more than one diffusion-factor of Rogers, others just one.
The further diagnosis of the research leads to three different solutions to influence the diffusion rate in the construction industry: (1) the realisation of a transformation, (2) the realisation of a change in behaviour and (3) strengthen the innovations by focussing on the diffusion factors. The third solution influences the business models of companies and appoints their direct interests. By addressing the business in order to diffuse societal innovations, the social challenges can be met. Therefore this solution has been developed further in this research.
The combination of critical success factors and the Diffusion Theory of Rogers have led to the basics of the Implovation Model designed in this research (figure 1). This is a dynamic model based on seven steps which can be executed in the order they are presented, but depending on the interests of the user, also in another order or separately. The Implovation Model can be used by different parties (for example companies from the supply and demand market, but also by the government.) The Implovation Model helps a company to gain information on how to strengthen the diffusion process of their innovation.
The innovation Slimbouwen and the actions of the foundation in order to influence the diffusion of the innovation have been analysed according to the findings in the literature. The results show that the characteristics of the innovation were not well founded which is one of the main reasons why the societal innovation Slimbouwen has not spread faster. The innovation is very complex and does not match the values of the social system. These factors were not taken into consideration at the moment the innovation was introduced to the market. The innovation of Slimbouwen is not just an innovation, it is a system innovation for which a change in behaviour is necessary in order to apply successfully. Although the benefits of the innovation for the society are big, the negative effect or influence on the construction industry might outweigh the societal benefits. It is difficult to prove the relative advantage of the innovation and this might not be recognized by the construction clients, who are in fact the main beneficiary in applying the innovation. This can be caused by a lot of variables, for example, the lack of communicating with the right target group, the right segment, with the right message and through the right communication channels.
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • Lichtenberg, J.J.N., Supervisor
  • Kastelein, A., Supervisor
  • Drijver, M., External supervisor, External person
Award date8 Dec 2016
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2016

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