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System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability

Theory, Evidence and Policy

System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability by B. Elzen
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Modern societies face several structural problems such as transport congestion and greenhouse gas emissions due to the widespread use of fossil fuels. To address these important societal problems and achieve sustainability in the broad sense, major transformations are required, but this poses an enormous challenge given the complexity of the processes involved. Such transformations are called ‘transitions’ or ‘system innovations’ and involve changes in a variety of elements, including technology, regulation, user practices and markets, cultural meaning and infrastructure.

This book considers two main questions: how do system innovations or transitions come about and how can they be influenced by different actors, in particular by governments. The authors identify the theories which can be used to conceptualise the dynamics of system innovations and discuss the weaknesses in these theories. They also look at the lessons which can be learned from historical examples of transitions, and highlight the instruments and policy tools which can be used to stimulate future system innovations towards sustainability. The expert contributors address these questions using insights from a variety of different disciplines including innovation studies, evolutionary economics, the sociology of technology, environmental analysis and governance studies. The book concludes with an extensive summary of the results and practical suggestions for future research.

Edward Elgar Publishing; January 2004
335 pages; ISBN 9781845423421
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Title: System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability
Author: B. Elzen; F.W. Geels; K. Green
 
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ISBNs
1845423429
9781843766834
9781845423421