Research directions in eco-innovation: a French perspective

  • Flore Vallet
  • Benjamin Tyl
  • François Cluzel
  • Yann Leroy
Technical Paper


The French network Eco-design of Sustainable Systems (EcoSD) has initiated collaborative research projects in order to foster collaborations between academic and industrial partners. Two projects concerning eco-innovation processes, methods and tools have been carried out between 2012 and 2014. This paper first offers a synthesis of the projects, and questions the new directions to feed research in eco-innovation for the forthcoming years. The first project concerned the perception of eco-innovation by companies. It aimed at defining the features and goals of eco-innovation compared to eco-design through a survey with 12 French industrial partners. Results confirm that eco-innovation still is an emerging topic and does not seem to be supported by any structured process. The second project made a focus on the stage of eco-evaluation and eco-selection of the most promising ideas. In order to understand the emergence of ideas with a high environmental potential, three groups of mixed academics and industrials were asked to test two methods involving mapping, selection, combination and environmental evaluation of ideas. Main results show that there is a large inter-group variability in the evaluation of the environmental potential of ideas. Lastly, three interlinked directions for research in eco-innovation are identified. The first direction deals with the eco-ideation phase, where appropriate stimulation mechanisms should be integrated to. The second direction deals with the environmental evaluation of ideas very early in the process. It is necessary to characterize the inputs and outputs from this phase, building a bridge towards a latter simplified environmental assessment. The last direction deals with the construction of an efficient eco-innovation process based on the two previous phases. The challenge is to reduce the gap between academia and industry, enabling companies to introduce an eco-innovation process into their current design process.


Eco-innovation Eco-design Environmental potential Idea selection 



The authors would like to thank the French EcoSD network for its financial support to the Collaborative Research Projects between 2012 and 2014, and to the 2015 annual seminar. All the EcoSD participants to the projects are also thanked for their involvement.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flore Vallet
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Benjamin Tyl
    • 4
  • François Cluzel
    • 2
  • Yann Leroy
    • 2
  1. 1.Sorbonne universités, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, CNRS, UMR 7337Compiègne cedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Genie Industriel, CentraleSupélec, Université Paris-SaclayChatenay-MalabryFrance
  3. 3.IRT SystemXPalaiseauFrance
  4. 4.APESABidartFrance

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