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On order and complexity in innovations systems: Conceptual frameworks for policy mixes in sustainability transitions

Grubb, M; McDowall, W; Drummond, P; (2017) On order and complexity in innovations systems: Conceptual frameworks for policy mixes in sustainability transitions. Energy Research and Social Science , 33 pp. 21-34. 10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.016. Green open access

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Abstract

The sheer complexity of sustainability transitions makes it vital to develop simplifying conceptual frameworks. Starting from the contrast between the mainstream innovation-economics and systems-innovation/evolutionary literatures, this paper begins by summarising the "Three Domains" framework, which relates technology innovation and adoption choices to different domains of socio-economic decision-making, at successively larger scales of time and social structures. We note the high-level implications for policy mixes and illustrate the main themes through three electricity technology examples (lighting, fossil fuel generation, and low carbon power systems), and use these also to show that the relative importance of different policy pillars may differ substantially according to the technology and context. We then relate this to the "innovation chain" (another simplifying framework) approach to vertical innovation and show how this can help to explain radical differences in innovation intensities between different sectors. We then expand the innovation chain framework from technology to the multiple journeys required for successful innovation, ordered according to levels of decision-making and hence domains. We conclude by indicating how this can help identify key blockages in energy transformations, and potentially help to reconcile the classical innovation-economics with systems innovation/evolutionary perspectives, and explain their currently divergent policy recommendations.

Type: Article
Title: On order and complexity in innovations systems: Conceptual frameworks for policy mixes in sustainability transitions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.016
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.09.016
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Energy transformation, Innovation systems, Economic domains, Policy pillars
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025939
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