The Theory

Sustainability Transitions and Socio-technical transitions theory underpins much of the thinking on Transformative Innovation Policy.

Socio-technical system transformation is very different from just developing new radical technological solutions. The evolution and focus on the social aspects, connected with the technical, is also key. Without this dual focus a transition will not occur.

To move towards a more sustainable mobility system, in a frame one and two approach, innovation policy would focus on the introduction of electric vehicles and its weak spot: overcoming the limited range through battery development.

However, if the electric vehicle only is a substitute for the current car and we continue with a car-dominated mobility system, the low carbon and inclusive economy will still be far away. Industry structures may be transformed but ambitious SDGs will not be met. A frame 3 TIP approach would focus innovation policies to support the emergence of new mobility systems, in which for example, private car ownership is less important, other mobility modalities such as small taxi vans, public transportation, walking and bicycling are used more in combination with, for example, electric vehicles that are provided by types of companies dedicated to the provision of mobility services using ICT capabilities, for example, mobility apps.

In this new system, mobility planning and thus also reduction of car mobility has become an objective of all actors, and even a symbol of modern behaviour. This is what we call a socio-technical system transition, it implicates co-production of social, behavioural and technological change in an interrelated way. For more information, read our Guide to Deep Transitions, and the scientific (position) paper that TIPC’s work derives from.

The Theory Behind TIPC’s Work:  A Top-Line Guide to Deep Transitions

Three Frames for Innovation Policy: R&D, Systems of Innovation and Transformative Change

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