The main objective of this paper is ‘to assess the conditions, including policy support, under which innovative concepts have a high chance of getting adopted and being successful’. The work will start from the state-of-the-art with the following goals targeted. Firstly, to identify the paths that new innovative concepts usually follow, what key determinants are, which actors are involved, and what policy has been doing and can do. As part of this, a typology of variables is established, which will be the basis for the identification of successful adoption paths. Illustrations are provided of the performance of different innovative concepts in the seaport sector. A further goal is to propose policy recommendations, identify best practices, barriers to implementation and transferability of innovative concepts and processes. Finally, the research establishes developments needed in assessment methods and a methodological framework if innovative concepts are introduced.