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A complex systems methodology to transition management

  • Floortje Alkemade
  • Koen Frenken

    ()

  • Marko Hekkert
  • Malte Schwoon

There is a general sense of urgency that major technological transitions are required for sustainable development. Such transitions are best perceived as involving multiple transition steps along a transition path. Due to the path dependent and irreversible nature of innovation in complex technologies, an initial transition step along some preferred path may cut off paths that later may turn out to be more desirable. For these reasons, initial transition steps should allow for future flexibility, where we define flexibility as robustness regarding changing evidence and changing preferences. We propose a technology assessment methodology that identifies the flexibility of initial transition steps in complex technologies. We illustrate our methodology by an empirical application to 2646 possible future car systems.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00191-009-0144-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 527-543

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:19:y:2009:i:4:p:527-543
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  1. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 521-549, October.
  2. Kauffman, Stuart & Lobo, Jose & Macready, William G., 2000. "Optimal search on a technology landscape," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 141-166, October.
  3. Cowan, Robin, 1988. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study In Technological Lock-In," Working Papers 88-33, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Silverberg, Gerald & Verspagen, Bart, 2005. "A percolation model of innovation in complex technology spaces," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 225-244, January.
  5. Philip Auerswald & Stuart Kauffman & Jose Lobo & Karl Shell, 1998. "The Production Recipes Approach to Modeling Technological Innovation: An Application to Learning By Doing," Working Papers 98-11-100, Santa Fe Institute.
  6. Jeroen Struben & John D Sterman, 2008. "Transition challenges for alternative fuel vehicle and transportation systems," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(6), pages 1070-1097, November.
  7. Herbert A. Simon, 2002. "Near decomposability and the speed of evolution," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 587-599, June.
  8. Saviotti, P. P. & Metcalfe, J. S., 1984. "A theoretical approach to the construction of technological output indicators," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 141-151, June.
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