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  • The Role of Open Innovation and Value Co-creation in the Challenging Transition from Industry 4.0 to Society 5.0: Toward a Theoretical Framework

    Barbara Aquilani; Michela Piccarozzi; Tindara Abbate; Anna Codini (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Advanced manufacturing solutions, augmented reality, and cloud and big data are technologies pertaining to Industry 4.0. These technologies improve working conditions, create new business models, and increase both productivity and firm quality production. However, they can also improve life and society as a whole. This new perspective, oriented toward social and global well-being, is called Society 5.0. As has happened for all past industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 will support the transition to a different society, i.e., Society 5.0. In this transition, open innovation and value co-creation can play an important role. The aim of the study was twofold: to examine how Industry 4.0 features and enabling technologies can support the transition to Society 5.0 and to investigate the roles of both open innovation and value co-creation within this transition. A conceptual framework was developed to jointly consider for the first time Industry 4.0, Society 5.0, open innovation, and value co-creation, which are all challenging issues that firms must cope with nowadays. Managers could profit from these insights to design ad hoc strategies in order to benefit from the opportunities emerging from this transition and overcome the main related challenges.
  • How Does Heterogeneity Affect Freeway Safety? A Simulation-Based Exploration Considering Sustainable Intelligent Connected Vehicles

    Yuntao Shi; Ye Li; Qing Cai; Hao Zhang; Dan Wu (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs) are recognized as a new sustainable transportation mode, which could be promising for reducing crashes. However, the mixed traffic consisting of manually driven vehicles and ICVs may negatively affect road safety due to individual heterogeneity. This study investigated heterogeneity effects on freeway safety-based simulation experiments. Two types of vehicle dynamic models were employed to depict dynamic behaviors of manually driven vehicles and adaptive cruise control (ACC) vehicles (a simplified version of ICVs), respectively. Real vehicle trajectories were utilized to calibrate model parameters based on genetic algorithms. Surrogate safety measures were applied to establish the relationship between vehicle behaviors and longitudinal collision risks. Simulation results indicate that the heterogeneity has negative effects on longitudinal safety. With the higher degree of heterogeneity, longitudinal collision risks are increased. Compared to traffic flow consisting of human drivers only, mixed traffic flow may be more dangerous when the market penetration rate of ACC is low, since the ACC system can be recognized as a new source of individual heterogeneity. Findings of this study show that necessary countermeasures should be developed to improve safety for mixed traffic flow from the perspective of transportation safety planning in the near future.
  • The Intrinsic Value of an Enterprise Determined by Means of the FCFE Tool

    Veronika Jezkova; Zuzana Rowland; Veronika Machova; Jan Hejda (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    This paper deals with the determination of the intrinsic value of the company Seznam.cz, a.s. using discounted cash flow. Specifically, it is concerned with determining the value of the business from the perspective of the company’s shareholders. The Free Cash Flow to Equity (FCFE) method is chosen for analysis and determination of the value. According to this method, the specific FCFE values are discovered. However, the enterprise value must also be analyzed on the basis of other key indicators, such as financial leverage, the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) method, or the net present and future value of the FCFE. This is especially important so that the results can be put into mutual relations and a sufficient representative value of the FCFE results can be achieved. Input values stem from the company’s annual reports. From the results of the mentioned methods and indicators, it was found that the value of the FCFE is quite high, which means that the capital used is used appropriately. Based on the result of the continuing value of the FCFE, it can be said that the company’s intrinsic value is at a very good level.
  • Requirement-Oriented Engineering Characteristic Identification for a Sustainable Product–Service System: A Multi-Method Approach

    Chunting Liu; Guozhu Jia; Jili Kong (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Product–service systems (PSSs) have great potential for competitiveness and sustainability. Customers’ requirements cannot be directly used in the design of a PSS. Accurate identification of customer requirements, especially hidden requirements in the product life cycle, and transformation of customer requirements into specific engineering characteristics for PSS design are urgent problems. This study proposed a systematic and whole-process framework employing specific identification processes and methods, as well as a big data analysis. A set of refined and integrated methods were used to better identify customer requirements and to transform the customer requirements into specific engineering characteristics more accurately and efficiently. We also used customers’ online review data—a huge information resource to be explored—and big data technology to improve the requirement information identification process. A case study was implemented to verify our methodology. We obtained the engineering characteristics of a smartphone PSS matching the customer requirements as well as the exact importance rankings of customer requirements and engineering characteristics. The analysis results revealed that the proposed methodology allowed PSS designers to assess the PSS requirements more specifically and accurately by providing an intuitive evaluation of the role and importance of the requirements, engineering characteristics, and their mutual interactions that were hidden or indirect.
  • Examining the Asymmetric Nexus between Energy Consumption, Technological Innovation, and Economic Growth; Does Energy Consumption and Technology Boost Economic Development?

    Ayoub Zeraibi; Daniel Balsalobre-Lorente; Khurram Shehzad (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    This study aims to explore the connection between the potential effects of energy consumption and technological innovation on economic growth in China from 1980 to 2018. The Non-Linear Autoregressive Distributive Lag (NARDL) econometric approach reveals an asymmetric connection between technological innovation, energy consumption, and economic growth in China from 1980 to 2018. The empirical results also reveal that a 1% decrease in energy consumption would imperatively decline economic growth by 12.5%. Moreover, a 1% upsurge in trademark applications improves economic growth by 8.2%. For the case of China, this study reveals that a large portion of the energy was used by families, which is regarded as a non-contributing element to the economy of China. This study suggests that the promotion and production of energy-efficient processes and products is necessary in order to make a more significant step toward sustainable development. The empirical findings also suggest that the Chinese government should regulate suitable policies aimed at promoting energy efficiency and the control of inefficient energy uses.
  • STEM Education in Secondary Schools: Teachers’ Perspective towards Sustainable Development

    Thi Phuoc Lai Nguyen; Thi Huy Nguyen; Thanh Khiet Tran (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Young people are the future of society and agents for social change, and so it is crucial to provide education that not only equips them with knowledge and skills but also changes their attitudes and behavior towards sustainable development. This study provides a review on how pedagogical approaches in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can be deployed to teach concepts of sustainability. It also shows how secondary school teachers perceived STEM education and how they applied integrated STEM disciplines in designing projects to address development issues in Vietnam. Seventy-seven STEM teaching projects of teachers across the country were analysed, and interviews were conducted with 635 teachers who participated in the STEM program. Teachers valued STEM education and were willing to apply constructivist pedagogical methods to help solve the real-world problems. It is hoped that an integrated STEM approach can transform education into an innovative and inclusive education for social equity and sustainable development.
  • The Fertilizer Industry in Brazil and the Assurance of Inputs for Biofuels Production: Prospective Scenarios after COVID-19

    Pedro Igor Veillard Farias; Estevão Freire; Armando Lucas Cherem da Cunha; Raul José dos Santos Grumbach; Adelaide Maria de Souza Antunes (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Fertilizers are essential inputs for the agribusiness chain—they increase the productivity on available arable land and help to avoid changes in land use. Currently, Brazil is one of the largest consumers of fertilizers in the world but its imports of NPK fertilizers, as a percentage of its total consumption, have risen from 32% in 1988 to 77% in 2018. Biofuels are relevant in the transport sector and the Brazilian government, after the Paris Agreement, created the National Biofuels Policy (Renovabio), which has as one of its goals to raise the participation of biofuels in the transport sector to 28.6% by 2028. Soy, corn, and sugarcane (biofuels raw material) currently account for more than 70% of the consumption of NPK fertilizers in the country. Due to several reasons, in the last 10 years many local projects designed to fill the supply gap for fertilizers in Brazil have not been successful. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about the reliability of fertilizer supply in global value chains. In this context, is Brazil’s long-term biofuel market at risk after COVID-19? A total of 38 experts were consulted and four reference scenarios were developed. The article concluded that the Brazilian fertilizer industry must be prepared for a scenario of limited increase in demand on a global scale—strategic alliances may be forged to maintain existing installed capacity. Should the Brazilian government fail to provide any stimulus for the country’s fertilizer industry, it is likely that by 2035, Brazil’s biofuel industry sector would be overexposed to price volatility and availability on the global fertilizer market.
  • How Rocks Die: Changing Patterns of Discard and Re-Use of Ground Stone Tools in Middle Bronze Age Cyprus

    Andrew McCarthy (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Cultural objects are thought to have a lifespan. From selection, through construction, use, destruction, and discard, materials do not normally last forever, transforming through stages of life, eventually leading to their death. The materiality of stone objects, however, can defy the inevitable demise of an object, especially durable ground stone tools that can outlive generations of human lifespans. How groups of people deal with the relative permanence of stone tools depends on their own relationship with the past, and whether they venerate it or reject its influence on the present. A case study from the long-lived site of Prasteio-Mesorotsos in Cyprus demonstrates a shifting attitude toward ground stone objects, from the socially conservative habit of ritually killing of objects and burying them, to one of more casual re-use and reinterpretation of ground stone. This shift in attitude coincides with a socio-political change that eventually led to the ultimate rejection of the past: complete abandonment of the settlement.
  • Changes in Air Quality during the First-Level Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Shanghai Municipality, China

    Yang Bai; Yi Zhou; Juha M. Alatalo; Alice C. Hughes (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Ongoing rapid urban population growth world-wide has led to serious environmental problems that affect ecosystems and also lower the security and happiness of urban residents about their living environment. The most frequently reported negative impact is a deterioration in urban air quality. In this study, we performed a comprehensive assessment of the effects of the city lockdown policy in response to Covid-19 on air quality in Shanghai Municipality, China, and sought to identify a balance point between human activities and improving air quality. The first-level response (FLR) by Shanghai to control the spread of Covid-19 was to launch a lockdown, which remained in place from 24 January to 23 March, 2020. We compared airborne pollutant concentrations in different regions (downtown, suburbs) of Shanghai city in three periods (Pre-FLR, During-FLR, and Post-FLR) and in the corresponding periods in the previous year. The results showed that air quality improved significantly During-FLR compared with Pre-FLR, with the concentrations of PM<sub>2.5</sub>, PM<sub>10</sub>, SO<sub>2</sub>, NO<sub>2</sub>, and CO all decreasing significantly. The concentrations of all pollutants except O<sub>3</sub> also decreased significantly compared with the same period in the previous year. There were also some differences in pollutant concentrations between the downtown region and the suburbs of Shanghai. However, we found that the concentrations of pollutants rebounded gradually when the restrictions on human activities ended after two months of lockdown. This study provides empirical evidence of the important effect of limiting human activities on air quality. For sustainable and clean future urban management in Shanghai and beyond, central government policy regulations requiring a low-carbon lifestyle and cleaner production in industries should be established.
  • Factors Affecting Organizations’ Resistance to the Adoption of Blockchain Technology in Supply Networks

    Daeheon Choi; Chune Young Chung; Thou Seyha; Jason Young (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    From a supply chain perspective, new technologies such as blockchain can improve the efficiency and competitiveness of logistics and increase customer satisfaction. Although blockchain technology has been lauded as a way for firms to build sustainable supply chain networks, the rate of acceptance of this technology remains low. Therefore, this study seeks to identify the factors that discourage firms from merging blockchain with the supply chain. Instead of providing further reasons for adopting blockchain technology, we try to understand what deters firms from adding blockchain to their operations. Following the deductive approach, a confirmatory factor analysis is conducted on pre-test questionnaires to test, improve, and verify the constructs (questions) to measure the hypothesized factors. A theoretical model is proposed based on the hypotheses, and structural equation modeling is applied. The results are estimated using the partial least squares approach and a sample of 83 respondents. Our findings based on our empirical data support most of our hypotheses. We find that various factors impede the adoption of blockchain technologies, including technological barriers, constraints rooted in organizations and the environment, and system-related governmental barriers. In addition, various factors are critical determinants of resistance to blockchain in the technological, organizational, and environmental dimensions.
  • Online Recommendation Systems: Factors Influencing Use in E-Commerce

    Juan-Pedro Cabrera-Sánchez; Iviane Ramos-de-Luna; Elena Carvajal-Trujillo; Ángel F. Villarejo-Ramos (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    The increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand purchasing behavior has led to the development of recommendation systems in e-commerce platforms used as an influential element in the purchase decision process. This paper intends to ascertain what factors affect consumers’ adoption and use of online purchases recommendation systems. In order to achieve this objective, the Unified Theory of Adoption and Use of Technology (UTAUT 2) is extended with two variables that act as an inhibiting or positive influence on intention to use: technology fear and trust. The structural model was assessed using partial least squares (PLS) with an adequate global adjustment on a sample of 448 users of online recommendation systems. Among the results, it’s highlighted the importance of the inhibiting role of technology fear and the importance that users attach to the level of perceived trust in the recommendation system are highlighted. The performance expectancy and hedonic motivations have the greatest influence on intention to use these systems. Based on the results, this work provides a relevant recommendation to companies for the design of their e-commerce platforms and the implementation of online purchase recommendation systems.
  • Cost-Minimizing System Design for Surveillance of Large, Inaccessible Agricultural Areas Using Drones of Limited Range

    Luis Vargas Tamayo; Christopher Thron; Jean Louis Kedieng Ebongue Fendji; Shauna-Kay Thomas; Anna Förster (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    Drones are used increasingly for agricultural surveillance. The limited flight range of drones poses a problem for surveillance of large, inaccessible areas. One possible solution is to place autonomous, solar-powered charging stations within the area of interest, where the drone can recharge during its mission. This paper designs and implements a software system for planning low-cost drone coverage of large areas. The software produces a feasible, cost-minimizing charging station placement, as well as a drone path specification. Multiple optimizations are required, which are formulated as integer linear programs. In extensive simulations, the resulting drone paths achieved 70–90 percent of theoretical optimal performance in terms of minimizing mission time for a given number of charging stations, for a variety of field configurations.
  • Perceptions of Multistakeholder Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals: A Case Study of Irish Non-State Actors

    Aparajita Banerjee; Enda Murphy; Patrick Paul Walsh (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    The United Nations 2030 Agenda emphasizes the importance of multistakeholder partnerships for achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indeed, Goal 17 includes a target for national governments to promote multistakeholder partnerships between state and non-state actors. In this paper, we explore how members of civil society organizations and the private sector perceive both the possibilities and challenges of multistakeholder partnerships evolving in Ireland for achieving the SDGs. The research uses data gathered during 2018 and includes documentary research, participant observations of stakeholder forums in Ireland and the United Nations, and semi-structured interviews to address related questions. The results demonstrate that numerous challenges exist for forming multistakeholder partnerships for the SDGs, including a fragmented understanding of the Goals. They also note previous examples of successful multistakeholder partnership models, the need for more leadership from government, and an overly goal-based focus on SDG implementation by organizations as major impediments to following a multistakeholder partnership approach in the country. These findings suggest that although Goal 17 identifies multistakeholder partnerships as essential for the SDGs, they are challenging to form and require concerted actions from all state and non-state actors for SDG implementation.
  • Experimental Study and Analysis of Thermal Comfort in a University Campus Building in Tropical Climate

    Milen Balbis-Morejón; Javier M. Rey-Hernández; Carlos Amaris-Castilla; Eloy Velasco-Gómez; Julio F. San José-Alonso; Francisco Javier Rey-Martínez (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    This study presents the evaluation of the performance and acceptability of thermal comfort by students in the classrooms of a university building with minisplit-type air-conditioning systems, in a tropical climate. To carry out the study, temperature and humidity measurements were recorded, both outside and inside the selected classrooms, while the students were asked to complete thermal surveys on site. The survey model is based on the template proposed by Fanger and it was applied to a total number of 584 students. In each classroom, the Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) and the Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied (PPD) were estimated according to Fanger’s methodology, as well as the Thermal Sensation Vote (TSV) and the Actual Percentage Dissatisfied (APD), which were obtained from the measurements and the surveys. The results of this study showed that the PMV values, although they may vary with the insulation of the clothing, do not affect the TSV. Furthermore, comparing PMV vs. TSV scores, a 2 °C to 3 °C difference in operating temperature was found, whereby the thermal sensitivity for TSV was colder, so it could be assumed that the PMV model overestimates the thermal sensitivity of students in low-temperature conditions. In addition, an acceptability by 90% with thermal preferences between 23 °C and 24 °C were also found. These results indicate that it is possible to increase the temperature set point in minisplit-type air-conditioning system from 4 °C to 7 °C with respect to the currently set temperatures, without affecting the acceptability of the thermal environment to the students in the building.
  • Framing the Retirement Planning Behavior Model towards Sustainable Wellbeing among Youth: The Moderating Effect of Public Profiles

    Asyraf Afthanorhan; Abdullah Al Mamun; Noor Raihani Zainol; Hazimi Foziah; Zainudin Awang (MDPI AG, 2020-10-01)
    This study examines the effect of financial literacy, saving attitudes, social influence, and goal clarity on the retirement planning construct. In addition, it investigates how the public demographic profile moderates these relationships. The questionnaire approach was utilized to collect data by adopting and customizing the measurement scale from previous studies. A systematic random sampling approach was employed on 323 prospective respondents. The outcomes of this study illustrate that all relationships are significantly and positively associated with retirement planning using structural equation modeling (SEM). Furthermore, all moderator variables (gender, age, status, income, and education) moderated the relationships. The government should construct a holistic retirement planning model that is based on demographic characteristics.
  • The Urban Museum as a Creative Tourism Attraction: London Museum Lates Visitor Motivation

    Ayeon Choi; Graham Berridge; Chulwon Kim (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The urban museum has become a multi-functional institution that transcends the functional display of artifacts. The museum has become, in cities, a hybrid institution that keeps its doors open late to support a wide variety of special events. This study explored London’s “Museum Lates” programs and event characteristics, theoretical views of museums as cultural and creative tourism attractions. Furthermore, the study applied the contextual model of learning to understand visitor attendance motivations. The authors employed an interpretive approach using interviews with two types of participants: event visitors and event coordinators. The findings suggest that attendees possess personal, physical, and socio-cultural motivations for participating in “Museum Lates” events. The characteristics of late events—extraordinary quality and evening-time atmosphere—produce different effects from those of current museum exhibitions held during regular operating hours. “Museum Lates” events can contribute to achieving cultural sustainability, adding a cultural construct to the traditional three pillars of sustainability.
  • Investor Attention from Internet Search Volume and Underreaction to Earnings Announcements in Korea

    Joon Chae; Ryumi Kim; Jaehee Han (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Recent studies have used internet search volume as a measure of investor attention. In addition, literature argues that limited investor attention contributes to market underreaction to public information such as earnings announcements. We show that firms with more investor attention captured by abnormal internet search frequency have stronger announcement-day reactions and weaker post-earnings-announcement drift. The effect of abnormal search frequency is stronger for medium and small-sized firms, which usually receive insufficient attention. Our evidence indicates that firms with higher search intensity are traded more, especially by individual investors. Moreover, we imply that it is a sustainable development for investors to be able to use public information through the internet for investment in stock markets.
  • Cycling along a River: New Access, New Values?

    Matthieu Adam; Marylise Cottet; Sylvie Morardet; Lise Vaudor; Laure Coussout; Anne Rivière-Honegger (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The ViaRhôna is an 815 km cycle route running along the Rhône River from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. We examine the influence of this type of cycle route on the relationship between route users (including the local population, itinerant cyclists and foreign tourists) and the river landscapes. This relationship is approached from the angle of the use of the riverbanks as well as the perceived image, the value, and the knowledge associated with the river and its landscapes. Our survey based on interviews (<i>n</i> = 16) and questionnaires (<i>n</i> = 546) produced the following results. The features of the cycle route and the related activities that it makes possible drain a special segment of the population that, in spite of its diverse sociological composition, shares similar tastes. The creation of the cycle route has led to an increase in use of the riverbanks both by tourists and local people. The experience that it offers contributes to enhancing the value that users place on the river. This is due to a change in the image of the river following the (re)discovery of its natural environments. On the other hand, knowledge of one’s natural environments is not modified. These results raise the question of possible changes in the degree to which users support policies targeting the preservation and restoration of the river.
  • How Could Cooperatives Successfully Develop Their Social Responsibility: The Perspective of Life Cycle

    Jin Tang; Timo Sipiläinen; Gang Fu (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Social responsibility is a natural obligation of cooperatives, and fulfilling social responsibility is of great meaning to the sustainable development of cooperatives and society. This article constructs a “life cycle-cooperative social responsibility framework (LC-CoopSRF)” and analyzes the framework with the case of Chongxin Apiculture Specialized Cooperative of Sichuan Province, China. The research results show that cooperatives should respect the law of life cycle, consider conditions such as operational capabilities and ethical expectations, and fulfill social responsibility in a reasonable manner. The successful cooperative highlights the bottom-line responsibility in the establishment phase, internal responsibility in the growth phase, system responsibility in the maturity phase, and the differentiation phase is the phase of system responsibility.
  • Collaborative Scheduling of On-Site and Off-Site Operations in Prefabrication

    Wei Chen; Ying Zhao; Yangqing Yu; Kaiman Chen; Mehrdad Arashpour (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    As a kind of sustainable technology, prefabricated construction has increasingly gained momentum internationally due to its numerous benefits that include, but are not limited to, safe construction, waste minimization, quality improvement, and productivity enhancement. However, productivity in this domain is reliant on the efficiency of both on-site and off-site operations. On this basis, focusing on collaborative scheduling mechanisms, the current paper develops a static scheduling model and a dynamic scheduling model in prefabricated construction, and uses a simulated annealing algorithm (SA) to settle the optimization of operation planning considering delays by risks. The developed models are validated using data from a construction project with multiple suppliers of prefabricated elements. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in prefabricated construction management by streamlining collaborative scheduling in prefabrication. The established models provide construction managers with decision support systems with the aims of minimizing delays and related cost overruns.

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