Research: Barriers to business model innovation in city logistics in Sweden

Business model innovation (BMI) is an essential but challenging process potentially hampered by obstruction and confusion. Despite its significance, BMI is an underexplored topic in research on urban freight transport. A new paper reviews the existing literature and reinterprets five cases of attempted BMI in the Swedish urban freight transport sector by studying two examples of technological innovations, electrified freight vehicles and digitalization (electrification-EFV and digitalisation-DIG).

Three key issues are suggested to impede innovation. First, BMI and technological development are closely related processes that influence each other. Thus, they are part of a complex context difficult for project participants to assess. Second, decision-makers confront difficulties in deciding the specific stakeholders to prioritize and may thus unintentionally exclude essential groups. Third, as BMI is a novel approach to business development, it presents participants with considerable uncertainty about the responsibilities they and other actors have toward each other.

Based on the results, we identify three core characteristics hindering BMI in the five projects: a high degree of complexity associated with the innovation process; the focus on, or exclusion of, particular stakeholder groups from the said process; and unclear responsibilities linked with BMI. These issues indicate that in the urban freight transport sector, the theoretical dichotomy of barriers emanating from either obstruction or confusion must be expanded to include a third barrier, strategic misalignment, which arises due to diverging interests and organizational incentives.

Source: Williamsson, J., & Moen, O. (2022). Barriers to business model innovation in the Swedish urban freight transport sector. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 45, 100799.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *