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 7: Conclusions and Discussion

Frank W. Geels


INTRODUCTION The three research questions that have constituted the topic of this book are: 1. 2. 3. How do system innovations and technological transitions come about? Are there patterns in system innovations and technological transitions? Are there particular mechanisms in system innovations and technological transitions? Conceptual propositions about questions 1 and 2 were advanced in Chapter 3. This chapter begins by drawing conclusions about these conceptual propositions (Section 7.2). If the propositions have a good match with the empirical material in the case studies, they are robust. If there are deviations from the propositions, I shall advance refinements or additions. The multi-level perspective provides the main answer to the first research question. In Section 7.3 I shall refine this answer by distinguishing three different routes in system innovations. This refinement is based partly on a further reflection about the three case studies, and partly on more detailed distinctions in niche-regime interaction. Section 7.4 answers the third research question about mechanisms. The case studies showed that all kinds of mechanisms were important in system innovations and technological transitions. Complementing the case studies with findings from the literature, I have organised these mechanisms with regard to phases in transition processes. The chapter ends with some reflections on the kind of knowledge claims and generalisability (Section 7.5). 7.2 CONCLUSIONS ABOUT CONCEPTUAL PROPOSITIONS To answer the first research question, a multi-level perspective was described in Chapter 3. Several propositions were proposed about system innovations. First, novelties emerge in...

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