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Strategic Niche Management (SNM) beyond sustainability. An exploration of key findings of SNM through the lens of ICT and privacy


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  • W.F. Schilpzand
  • Rob P. J. M. Raven


  • Q.C. van Est
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    Recently the governance of socio-technical transitions to sustainability is gaining attention in the field of innovation studies. One particular approach is that of Strategic Niche Management (SNM), which advocates the creation of protected space to experiment with radically new sustainable socio-technical practices. This paper contributes by asking whether this approach is also useful for analysis and governance of other types of socially desirable change. This question is addressed through a review of six key-findings of Strategic Niche Management and an original case study in the field of Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies for mobile payment. The social value at stake in this case is not sustainability but privacy. We draw three main conclusions. First, we find that the key-findings and concepts in SNM for sustainability are helpful to understand and interpret much of the data collected for the NFC case and privacy. However, there are notable differences in each of the key-findings, i.e findings related to a) the local-global distinction in SNM, b) expectations, c) social networks, d) learning, e) protection, and f) niche-regime interactions. Second, in relation to governance, the role of sustainability values (being a promising value to pursue) and privacy values (being a bottom-line value to defend) are notably different. Third, these differences result in different roles of public bodies in niche development. The paper ends with discussing the consequences for SNM for sustainability research and future research topics.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) in its series Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series with number 10-07.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2010
    Date of revision: Jul 2010
    Handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1007

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    Keywords: Strategic Niche Management; sustainability; NFC; mobile payment; privacy;

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    1. Fagerberg, Jan & Verspagen, Bart, 2009. "Innovation studies--The emerging structure of a new scientific field," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 218-233, March.
    2. van Eijck, Janske & Romijn, Henny, 2008. "Prospects for Jatropha biofuels in Tanzania: An analysis with Strategic Niche Management," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 311-325, January.
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