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Resilience centre lecture, Lars Coenen
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Resilience centre lecture, Lars Coenen


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  • Formative, Growth, Mature Phase
  • Use the example of windpower in Denmark to illustrate
  • Transcript

    • 1. Innovation processes and transitions towards sustainability Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University Lars Coenen CIRCLE [email_address]
    • 2. Objectives of lecture
      • Theory: create understanding of key concepts for transition analysis
      • Analysis: develop ability to translate concepts into pragmatic framework for empirical analysis
      • Critical thinking: reflect on limitations and shortcomings of transition studies
    • 3. Overview of lecture
      • What is a sustainability transition? Key characteristics?
      • Theoretical origins: evolutionary and institutional approaches to socio-technical change
      • Two key analytical framework:
        • Technological Innovation Systems
        • Multi-Level Perspective
      • Implications for governance / policy
      • What is a sustainability transition? Key characteristics?
    • 4. Theoretical origins
      • (Economic) Evolutionary theory (Nelson, Winter, Dosi):
        • Change as a process of variation, selection and retention
        • Dominant design (Abarnathy & Utterback)
        • Incremental, radical and paradigmatic innovation
      • Institutional theory (North, Scott, Hodgson)
        • Innovation as inter-organizational process
        • Organizations are guided by institutions which results in mimicry and conformity
    • 5. Socio-Technical System (Geels, 2004)
    • 6. A definition of ’transition’
      • Co-evolution towards system innovations through new technology, changes in markets, user pratices, policy and cultural discourses, and governing institutions (Geels, Hekkert and Jacobsson, 2008)
        • (1) co-evolution and multiple changes in socio-technical systems or configurations
        • (2) multi-actor interactions between social groups such as firms, user groups, scientific communities, policy makers, social movements and special interest groups
        • (3) ‘radical’ change in terms of scope of change (not speed)
        • (4) long-term processes covering 40-50 years.
    • 7. TIS: framework for analyzing the emergence and formation of new technology (Bergek et al., 2008)
    • 8. TIS: example
    • 9. TIS: critisisms
      • Strict technology focus
        • Is technology always the solution?
        • Pet-technology versus technology mix
      • Too much focus on mechanisms
        • Black-boxing the causes for inducement / blocking mechanisms
        • Naive policy lessons (push the button)
    • 10. Socio-technical regimes (Kemp et al. 1998)
      • A socio-technical regime is defined as
      • `the coherent complex of scientific knowledge, engineering practices, production process technologies, product characteristics, skills and procedures, established user needs, regulatory requirements, institutions and infrastructures that make up the totality of a technology‘’
      • A regime pre-defines the variation and selection environment for an innovation
      • Helps explain why most change is non-radical and geared to regime optimization
      • Constitutes a major barrier for new technology
    • 11. Example regime
      • Technological convergence around combustion engine, personal vehicles and fossil fuels
      • Government policy and regulatory framework: e.g. safety requirements, taxes, city planning
      • Cultural and psychological factors: car as symbol of indivual freedom
      • Demand factors: price competitiveness & institutionalized user behaviour
      • Production factors: economies of scale through mass production
      • Infrastructure and maintenance: threshold to existing distribution system & repairs
    • 12. Niche
      • Niches are “protected spaces in which actors learn about novel technologies and their uses” (Geels, 2002, p. 365) and that nurture novelty and protect radical innovations against mainstream market selection
        • Military demand
        • Early markets
    • 13. Governance implications: Strategic Niche Management (Raven, 2005)
        • technical development: design specifications and required complementary technology
        • user context: user characteristics, requirements, meanings and barriers to use
        • societal and environmental impact
        • industrial development: production and maintenance
        • government policy and regulatory framework.
    • 14. Socio-technical transitions: multi level perspective (Geels, 2004)
    • 15. Multi-level perspective: path dependence versus path creation (Geels & Schot, 2006)
      • Reproduction of regime: business as usual
      • Transformation path: the regime adapts to landscape pressures without being threathened by niches
      • Technological substitution: the existing regime is replaced by a sufficiently strong niche
      • Reconfiguration: partial replacement of elements if the regime by niche
      • De-alignment & re-alignment: in case of multiple niches
    • 16. Three analytic dimensions to regimes and niches
      • Rules
      • Actors
      • System
      • Defining difference: degree of stability
    • 17. Scheme for analysis of rules Formal/regulative Normative Cognitive Technological and product regimes (research, development, production) Science regimes Policy regimes Socio-cultural regimes (societal groups, media) Users, markets and distribution networks
    • 18. Transitions as a new policy approach to sustainability
      • Existing approaches…
        • Technical expertise and administration
        • Market reforms
        • Behavioural change
      • … only focus on singular dimensions of sustainability.
      • Transitions acknowledges:
        • Co-evolution
        • Multi-dimensional interaction
        • Long-term goals and committment
      • Through:
        • Learning, radical innovation, experimentation, searching for new paths, participatory approaches, multi-actor interactions, selection processes and network evolution.
      • But…
    • 19. Critisism
      • Neglect of power dimension (Kern and Smith, 2008)
        • Who are regime / niche actors?
        • Impact of globalization
      • Risk of devolving into ’soft’ policy
    • 20. Exercise
      • What is a sustainability transition?
      • What are it’s key characteristics? Or: how do we recognize a sustainability transitions when we see one?