Technological Transitions and System Innovations

Technological Transitions and System Innovations

A Co-Evolutionary and Socio-Technical Analysis

Frank W. Geels

This important book addresses how long term and large scale shifts from one socio-technical system to another come about, using insights from evolutionary economics, sociology of technology and innovation studies. These major changes involve not just technological changes, but also changes in markets, regulation, culture, industrial networks and infrastructure.

Preface

Frank W. Geels

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, innovation and technology, innovation policy, technology and ict, urban and regional studies, transport

Extract

This book is about technological transitions and system innovations. These processes refer to changes in the way societal functions are fulfilled, for example, transport, communication, housing and energy supply. Societal functions are fulfilled by socio-technical systems, consisting of technology, markets and user practices, public policies and regulations, infrastructure, symbolic meaning and scientific understanding. The change from one socio-technical system to another is the topic of this book. Because technology is a crucial element in socio-technical systems, it is taken as an entry point to study system innovations. But change is not limited to technological transitions. There are all kinds of knock-on effects, which affect the entire socio-technical system. Furthermore, I conceptualise technology not just as knowledge and artefacts. Working from the discipline of science and technology studies, I see technology as heterogeneous configuration of elements that are aligned and work together. Social and technical aspects are always intertwined and constitute each other. This book analyses how social and technical aspects influence each other during technological transitions and system innovations. Hence, the subtitle of the book: a coevolutionary and socio-technical analysis. The book develops a conceptual perspective to understand how system innovations come about through the alignment of social and technical developments at multiple levels. This qualitative perspective integrates insights from several disciplines, for example, evolutionary economics, innovation studies, sociology of technology and complex systems theory. The conceptual perspective is multidisciplinary, even though science and technology studies form the basic conceptual background into which...