Theory, Evidence and Policy
Edited by Boelie Elzen, Frank W. Geels and Ken Green
Chapter 12: Conclusion. Transitions to Sustainability: Lessons Learned and Remaining Challenges
12. Conclusion. Transitions to sustainability: lessons learned and remaining challenges Boelie Elzen, Frank W. Geels and Ken Green In Chapter 1, we argued that system innovations are necessary to achieve sustainability, a scale of change that is much larger than that implied in the incremental paths of innovation that are currently being pursued. Based on this, we raised two research questions, notably: 1. How do system innovations (for transitions) develop? What theories can be used to conceptualize (part of) their dynamics and what gaps exist in those theories? What can we learn from historical examples of transitions? Can system innovations be inﬂuenced by actors, in particular public authorities and, if so, how? What instruments and tools are available, are additional tools needed and how should they be used? 2. In this ﬁnal chapter, we will review the answers that have been suggested in this book to these two questions. Given the embryonic stage of transition research, our aim is to tease out interesting insights and reﬂect on the strengths and weaknesses of these ﬁndings. We conclude by presenting an agenda for future research. UNDERSTANDING TRANSITIONS – LESSONS LEARNED Grasping Heterogeneity – the Multi-level Perspective In Chapter 1, we deﬁned system innovations (for transitions) requiring changes in those socio-technical systems that meet human needs. Such systems are characterized by a range of technologies, infrastructures, patterns of behaviour, cultural values and policies. A transition implies a process 282 Lessons learned and remaining challenges 283 of change that aﬀects all or...
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