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A complex systems methodology to transition management

Author

Listed:
  • Malte Schwoon
  • Floortje Alkemade

    ()

  • Koen Frenken

    ()

  • Marko P. Hekkert

    ()

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Malte Schwoon & Floortje Alkemade & Koen Frenken & Marko P. Hekkert, 2008. "A complex systems methodology to transition management," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 08-12, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Apr 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0812
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Jeroen Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary thinking in environmental economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 521-549, October.
    4. Auerswald, Philip & Kauffman, Stuart & Lobo, Jose & Shell, Karl, 2000. "The production recipes approach to modeling technological innovation: An application to learning by doing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 389-450, March.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Cowan, Robin, 1990. "Nuclear Power Reactors: A Study in Technological Lock-in," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 541-567, September.
    8. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Floris J. Huétink & Alexander van der Vooren & Floortje Alkemade, 2009. "Initial infrastructure development strategies for the transition to sustainable mobility," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 09-05, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Mar 2009.
    2. Ardjan Gazheli & Miklós Antal & Ben Drake & Tim Jackson & Sigrid Stagl & Jeroen van den Bergh & Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, 2013. "Policy responses by different agents/stakeholders in a transition: Integrating the Multi-level Perspective and behavioral economics," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 48, WWWforEurope.
    3. Arman Avadikyan & Patrick Llerena, 2009. "Socio-technical transition processes: A real option based reasoning," Working Papers of BETA 2009-21, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Frenken, Koen & Pyka, Andreas & Verspagen, Bart & Windrum, Paul, 2010. "Innovation, qualitative change and economic development--Special issue in honour of Pier-Paolo Saviotti," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-4, March.
    5. Paolo Zeppini & Koen Frenken & Roland Kupers, 2013. "Threshold models of technological transitions," Working Papers 13-06, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies, revised Aug 2013.
    6. Lopolito, A. & Morone, P. & Taylor, R., 2013. "Emerging innovation niches: An agent based model," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1225-1238.
    7. Safarzyńska, Karolina & Frenken, Koen & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2012. "Evolutionary theorizing and modeling of sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1011-1024.
    8. Markard, Jochen & Stadelmann, Martin & Truffer, Bernhard, 2009. "Prospective analysis of technological innovation systems: Identifying technological and organizational development options for biogas in Switzerland," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 655-667, May.
    9. Marco Valente, 2014. "An NK-like model for complexity," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 107-134, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    NK-model; complexity; flexibility; irreversibility; path dependence; transition path; transition management; sustainable development; car technology;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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