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System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability

Theory, Evidence and Policy

Edited by Boelie Elzen, Frank W. Geels and Ken Green

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.
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Chapter 10: Managing Experiments for Transition: Examples of Societal Embedding in Energy and Health Care Sectors

Sirkku Kivisaari, Raimo Lovio and Erja Väyrynen


Sirkku Kivisaari, Raimo Lovio, Erja Väyrynen INTRODUCTION It has been increasingly accepted that climate change poses a world-wide threat to the environment, human life and economic development. Human activity increases the concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions which raise the average global temperature. The change of temperature can vary to a great extent in different parts of the world. The change is estimated to lead to higher amounts of rainfall, to a rising sea level, and to a reduction of snow cover. The climate change issue and the need to curb an increase in the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption create a strong force for major changes in the energy sector. To take a sustainability issue from another societal sector, health care systems in all Western countries are struggling to find ways to meet the new challenges related to ageing of the population. More care services for the elderly will be needed but also the quality of services calls for change in the ageing society. Emphasis in health care will transfer from external causes of diseases to biological ageing and degenerative diseases. Chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension are increasing among elderly people. The need to renew the intertwined system of services and technologies to meet the growing and changing needs is presently considered urgent. These examples show that transition to sustainability requires system innovations in many spheres of society. System innovation is a term that refers to major changes in the way societal functions are ful...

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