Technological Transitions and System Innovations
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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.
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Chapter 2: Building Blocks from the Literature

Frank W. Geels


INTRODUCTION There is no specific literature about system innovation and technological transition, as delineated in Chapter 1. But there is a wide range of literature on particular aspects of system innovations. To structure the literature review, the focus in subsequent sections is on three aspects: (a) system approaches, (b) technological change and (c) co-evolution. System approaches are dealt with, because the topic of the book is system innovation (Section 2.2). Literature on technological change is taken into account, because technology is taken as an entry point (Section 2.3). This will include sociological, socio-technical and economic literature. Coevolution is dealt with because it is a crucial process in system innovation (Section 2.4). The aim of this chapter is to generate insights and concepts that can be used as building blocks for the construction of a conceptual perspective in Chapter 3. This means that the discussion of the literature will be somewhat eclectic. Although this book aims to develop a co-evolutionary and sociotechnical perspective on system innovations, the literature review is relatively wide, but not exhaustive. In Chapter 1 (Section 1.3) it was argued that sociological frames and socio-technical systems provide a structuring context for economic (trans)actions. But although economic processes are embedded in sociological and socio-technical contexts, they are important to understand system innovations. Hence, building blocks can be found in a wide range of literature. 2.2 SYSTEM APPROACHES There are several approaches that have technical systems as their topic of analysis, for example, large technical systems theory, and...

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