Sustainable development can only be achieved by extensive innovation and its rapid international implementation. In particular creating and extending lead markets is crucial since they provide a platform to gain experience on the basis of which technological achievement and international diffusion can be pushed forward. Currently, even newly industrialised countries were preparing to leapfrog into a position of technological leadership. Given these circumstances, economies have taken a strategic position. Global contexts required indicating lead market potentials for countries such as Germany or community of states such as the European Union. However, these global contexts also called for the incorporation of specific interests of rapidly developing economies. This also required considering alternative strategies and options for first moving, an approach that has, so far, been neglected in the political debates. This was why, in the field of wind energy, Germany started off as an early follower, gradually lifting itself into the leading market position and not as first mover. Also, the BRIC states had  become competitors to be reckoned with. This held for several sub sectors, e.g. China for electromobility, India for wind energy and Brazil for the bio mass energy sector. This rather aggressive approach marked these countries' behaviour off from the classical behaviour of developing and newly industrialised countries, which were typically described as late followers (according to pattern "later abatement = faster abatement = cheaper abatement").The research project provided additional scientific value by:

  • creating an approach for the analysis of lead markets considering evolutionary economics
  • adding new strategies and options (early follower, late follower) to the concept of lead markets, also taking into account newly industrialised countries.
  • identifying framework conditions and factors for choosing strategies
  • identifying governance mechanisms in order to influence lead markets.
  • partially quantifying the concept of lead markets (further development of a system dynamics model for quantifying first movers' world market shares)

Transdisciplinary workshops and an advisory board were contributed to the positioning of Germany, the EU and other states in global competition.
Further information:

Project duration

01.10.2010 - 30.09.2013

Project members

Dr. Klaus Rennings (Coordinator)

Cooperation partner

Fachhochschule Pforzheim, Pforzheim, DE
Fachhochschule Augsburg, Augsburg, DE
Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung, Karlsruhe, DE
Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, DE
Chinese Academiy of Science, Beijing, CN
Columbia University, New York, US