Mediating and catalysing innovation: A framework for anticipating the standardisation needs of emerging technologies

Charles R. Featherston, Jae Yun Ho, Laure Brévignon-Dodin, Eoin O'Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


The development of technology strategies are often supported by strategic frameworks. Although standards can be critical in fostering technological innovation, particularly by supporting knowledge diffusion, their importance is often neglected by commonly used strategic frameworks. This paper presents a framework which uses the knowledge that needs to transition between key anticipated innovation activities to anticipate potential standardisation needs for emerging technologies. The framework draws attention to strategic considerations and dimensions that might otherwise be overlooked, including different types of standards; standardisation stakeholders; the alignment, coordination, and sequencing of standards; and how these all change over time. A technology roadmapping based framework was used because it explicitly characterises the alignment, coordination, and sequencing of innovation activities (over time) and can be configured to draw out information against the other above strategic considerations and dimensions. The principles and utility of the framework are demonstrated in three contrasting case studies: synthetic biology, additive manufacturing, and smart grid. These show how standards mediate between innovation actors by codifying and diffusing knowledge and can enhance and catalyse innovation. The proposed framework can be used to reveal where standards might be used to support innovation, better characterise the types of standards needed, identify the stakeholders needed to develop them, and highlight any potential alignment, coordination, and sequencing issues related to standardisation activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-40
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks are due to colleagues in BIS, BSI, TSB and Innovate UK for insights, useful conversations and advice on technological domains, and to BIS , BSI and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation , United Kingdom (GA3230) for their financial support. Thanks also due to two anonymous reviewers who helped to refine and more clearly articulate the messages in the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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