Eco-Innovations in Rural Territories: Organizational Dynamics and Resource Mobilization in Low Density Areas

Par Danielle Galliano, Amélie Gonçalves, Pierre Triboulet


Rural areas are generally considered as less innovative because of the limited agglomeration of activities found within them. There has been little research on innovation in rural areas, whereas there are many environmental innovation projects in these areas. In this study we propose an analytical framework to examine the role of internal organizational factors and environmental factors (sectoral, spatial, and regulatory) that influence the development of eco-innovation projects. We tested this framework by using an original method: the Quantified Narrative Method, applied to five cases studies in French rural areas. Based on in-depth interviews, this method enabled the identification of external resources (nature, mode of acquisition, and location) used by the project. The results show the importance of personal networks – especially local professional networks – and leaders to strengthen the project’s absorptive capacity (mobilization of specific local factors, development of related activities). While local resources remain crucial for these projects, remote resources are increasingly mobilized along the projects’ path.
JEL Codes: O31, R110, Q560


  • eco-innovation
  • rural
  • trajectories
  • organization
  • environmental factors
  • external resources
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