Towards Innovation with Care
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Lars Fuglsang
Chapter 6: Getting Waste to Become Taste: From the Planning of Innovation to Innovation Planning
Gestur Hovgaard INTRODUCTION This chapter presents a single case study of the evolution of the Danish food-ingredient company Danmark Protein (DP). Danmark Protein, which today is fully incorporated with the dairy giant Arla, is a world leading producer of highly sophisticated and biotechnologically derived whey proteins. There are at least three major reasons why this company is an interesting case in innovation research. First, the company is founded on the basic idea to turn cheese whey – three decades ago an invasive industrial waste problem – into useful production. Second, when the idea to produce whey proteins emerged some 30 years ago, it was a completely new business to enter. Hence, the technology, the production processes, the organization and the market were basically new. Third, the company was among the ﬁrst two in the world to produce whey proteins on an industrial scale, and has maintained its leading position by continuously renewing its production base, thus becoming an important contributor to a growing, globally oriented ingredient industry. The idea of this chapter is that such a story can tell us something about innovation with care! The original challenge in innovation research is associated with Schumpeter’s engagement with understanding the emergence of new ﬁrms and their role in economic change. Schumpeter found that entrepreneurs possess the capability to be change agents in the economic system (Schumpeter, 1934). However, the classical entrepreneurial paradigm, and the subsequent techno-economic framework for innovation research, do not satisfactorily explain innovations in the modern economy. In short, a changing...
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