Analysis of adoption rates for Needs Driven versus Value Driven innovation water technologies

Paul O’Callaghan*, Lakshmi M. Adapa, Cees Buisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyzes six case studies of new water technology innovations in the last three decades and investigates the differences in timelines for moving through the various stages of water technology commercialization. The concept of two different types of innovation was explored: Crisis/Needs Driven and Value Driven. It was found that the case studies that mapped to the Crisis/Needs Driven innovation moved relatively quickly compared to Value Driven innovations and in most cases involved new entrants. New entrants refer to new companies or start-ups that have recently entered the water technology market. The case studies, which could be mapped to Value Driven innovation, had a slower rate of technology diffusion, and they involved a combination of existing companies as well as new entrants. • Practitioner points • The paper identifies two key types of innovation: Crisis/Needs Driven and Value Driven. • Legislation was observed to be a key driver for the adoption of new technology innovation in the water sector. • The Crisis/Needs driven innovations studied were observed to diffuse through the Water Technology Diffusion model at up to twice the pace of Value driven innovation. • Crisis/Needs driven innovation typically involves disruptive innovation offered by new entrants, whereas with Value driven innovation, the solutions are provided by both existing companies as well as new entrants. • It is also observed that in most cases a technology that is adopted in order to meet a crisis or need in the market is more expensive at the outset compared with incumbent solutions. • While value driven adoption has a slower cycle for adoption, it presents a lower risk as it is less dependent on external factors and timing of implementation of regulations or the occurrence of some public health related or environmental crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Disruptive innovation
  • Innovation adoption
  • Innovation drivers
  • Sustaining innovation
  • Technology diffusion
  • Water innovation
  • Water technology
  • Water technology adoption


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