New paper evaluates ‘disruptive innovation’ framework

Innovation

New paper evaluates “disruptive innovation” framework

A new paper authored by Professor Frank Geels titled ‘Disruption and low-carbon system transformation: Progress and new challenges in socio-technical transitions research and the Multi-Level Perspective’ evaluates the ‘disruptive innovation’ framework. Further information about the paper is posted on the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand (CIED) website.

Professor Frank Geels is Co-Director of CIED and Professor of System Innovation and Sustainability, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester.

The paper is published as part of a special selection on ‘Disruptive Innovation and Energy Transformation’ in the journal Energy Research and Social Science and compares the usefulness of two theoretical frameworks for sustainability transitions research: the “disruptive innovation” framework and the “multi-level perspective” (MLP).

The article also aims to identify three challenges and new directions for socio-technical transitions research and the MLP:

1) multiple innovations and gradual system reconfiguration

2) causal mechanisms for political, cultural, business and consumer processes

3) a processual theory of change

Abstract ‘Disruption and low-carbon system transformation: Progress and new challenges in socio-technical transitions research and the Multi-Level Perspective’

This paper firstly assesses the usefulness of Christensen’s disruptive innovation framework for low-carbon system change, identifying three conceptual limitations with regard to the unit of analysis (products rather than systems), limited multi-dimensionality, and a simplistic (‘point source’) conception of change. Secondly, it shows that the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) offers a more comprehensive framework on all three dimensions. Thirdly, it reviews progress in socio-technical transition research and the MLP on these three dimensions and identifies new challenges, including ‘whole system’ reconfiguration, multi-dimensional struggles, bi-directional niche-regime interactions, and an alignment conception of change. To address these challenges, transition research should further deepen and broaden its engagement with the social sciences.

A full version of the paper is available to download on the ScienceDirect website.
A brief overview of the End Use Energy Demand Centres (EUED) Centres.

 

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