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Monday, July 25 • 1:30pm - 2:00pm
Industrial Ecology in Motion: A Theoretical Proposal for Innovation on SME's

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2776 Since 80s and 90s industrial engineering research has been looking for new ways to handle and manage natural resources on the planet. Water sources contamination, waste generation, industrial treatments of these wastes and greenhouse gases produce consequences on communities’ quality of life, startling authorities and societies in general. As a result, there is an interest in the agenda of policy-makers and academics to generate innovative process and products around better ways to put closer production models and socio-ecological systems. Several initiatives has been proposed to accomplish this in the last years (e.g. cleaner production and pollution reduction) but only one seeks a holistic way to approach to problematic situations, Industrial Ecology (IE). IE has a relevant importance for systems sciences because this discipline understand natural and industrial process in a systemic way. IE try to perceive companies not only like productive isolated entities, but living components that change across time, take decisions and works on an ecological system. Also, IE see processes as complex systems where humans, material flows and technology are taking into account, evolving from unsustainable production forms to resilient and innovative structures. As such, small and middle enterprises (SME’s) are a research challenge to industrial engineering and IE. The differences between big industries and small production lie on usage of appropriate technologies for environmental management, intensive use of manpower and low control by policy-makers. Moreover, SME’s play a key role as part of the economy and source of innovation. This paper contribution is to understand the relationship between innovation process on strategies of environmental care and rules or routines at the organizational level on SME’s. The results of the interaction on each one of the firms on an economic environment or social system is to exchange goods and services using several incentives and rules. These rules are created, adopted, retained and abandoned by SME’s according to environmental, social and legal conditions, but also by selective pressures that modifies the system. Creating synergies for companies and their rules would lead to a stable and resilient behavior on a global scale. Therefore, using systemic thinking into an evolutionary way, where every heterogeneous and autonomous firm take environmental and economic decisions, self-organization processes will arise. As a result, innovative processes’ creation could be replicated and adapted by other SME’s. In this paper I will show a theoretical proposal for innovation on industrial ecology based on the evolutionary ontology proposed by Kurt Dopfer. I will also present the mechanisms of variation and selection at micro, meso and macro level and their relation with ecologically responsible and systemic viable decision-making process. Finally, the author will present several recommendations that will help to apply these strategies on the industry, from eco-industrial parks for SME’s to evolutionary models with agent-based simulations.

avatar for Louis Klein

Louis Klein

SIG Chair: Organizational Transformation and Social Change, louis.klein@segroup.de
Vice President Conferences (2015), International Society for the Systems Sciences SIG Chair:    Systems Applications in Business and Industry SIG Chair:    Organizational Transformation and Social ChangeLouis Klein is an internationally recognized expert in the field of systemic... Read More →


Monday July 25, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm MDT
ECCR 151