1st Edition

The Dynamics of Sustainable Innovation Journeys

Edited By Frank Geels, Marko Hekkert, Staffan Jacobsson Copyright 2011

    This book shows that sustainable development should be analysed and managed as an innovation journey in which social, technological, political and cultural dimensions become aligned. The ‘journey’ aspect captures the open and uncertain nature of sustainable developments and highlights the agency dimension, with actors navigating, negotiating, groping and struggling their way forward (and sometimes backward). The book addresses the following research questions: What are the key processes and micro-dynamics of innovation journeys? Which policy lessons can be drawn for managing sustainable innovation journeys? To conceptualize the multi-dimensional nature of innovation journeys the book draws on insights from industrial economics, evolutionary economics, sociology of technology, political science and cultural studies. The book develops several new conceptual frameworks that make different crossovers between these disciplines. These frameworks are empirically tested with case studies on biofuels, onshore wind power, low energy housing, photovoltaic solar cells, biomass and fuel cells. The empirical studies are also used to derive several robust lessons as to how policy makers can influence sustainable innovation journeys. This book was published as a special issue of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management.

    1. The Dynamics of Sustainable Innovation Journeys Frank W. Geels, Marko P. Hekkert and Staffan Jacobsson

    2. Strategic niche management and sustainable innovation journeys: theory, findings, research agenda, and policy Johan Schot and Frank W. Geels

    3. Multi-niche analysis of dynamics and policies in Dutch renewable energy innovation journeys (1970–2006): hype-cycles, closed networks and technology-focused learning Geert Verbong, Frank W. Geels and Rob Raven

    4. ‘Legitimation’ and ‘development of positive externalities’: two key processes in the formation phase of technological innovation systems Anna Bergek, Staffan Jacobsson and Björn A. Sandén

    5. Cumulative causation in biofuels development: a critical comparison of the Netherlands and Sweden Karl M. Hillman, Roald A.A. Suurs, Marko P. Hekkert and Björn A. Sandén

    6. Discourse and innovation journeys: the case of low energy housing in the UK Heather Lovell

    7. Socio-political embedding of onshore wind power in the Netherlands and North Rhine–Westphalia Susanne Agterbosch and Sylvia Breukers


    Frank Geels is Professor at SPRU, one of the founding institutes of innovation studies, at the University of Sussex. He is a world-leading scholar on socio technical transitions to sustainability, and is well known for his work on the multi-level perspective and empirical studies of a dozen historical and future transitions.

    Marko P. Hekkert is full professor at Innovation Studies, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University in The Netherlands. He is research director of the Copernicus research institute and head of innovation studies where 35 scholars focus on understanding emerging technologies, innovation system dynamics and sustainability transitions.

    Staffan Jacobsson is Professor in Science and Technology Policy at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interest lies in (i) Science Policy, (ii) Energy Policy and (iii) how we may conceptualize and empirically study the dynamics of technological innovation systems. He has been honored with three teaching awards.