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Development paths for emerging innovation systems: implications for environmental innovations


  • Floortje Alkemade


  • Marko Hekkert



The functions of innovations systems approach states that in order for an innovation system to function well several key process or functions have to be addressed. Earlier contributions on this topic provide empirical descriptions of innovation systems over time and present analyses of how the key activities fluctuate over time .This body of literature shows that there are considerable differences between function fulfillments in different innovation systems making it difficult to directly compare innovation systems. In this paper we present a first step towards such a more theoretically based approach by describing how innovation system ideally functions over time and then use this approach to analyze 17 case studies of technological innovation systems regarding environmental innovations in the Netherlands. More specifically, we describe desirable patterns of function fulfillment over the lifecycle of a technological innovation system, thereby focusing on the transition from the exploratory phase to the growth phase. We then compare these theoretical patterns to assess 17 technological innovation systems concerning environmental technologies. Outcomes show that environmental innovations in general follow similar patterns to mostly market-driven innovations but that some key processes remain unaddressed. This leads to important insights for policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • Floortje Alkemade & Marko Hekkert, 2009. "Development paths for emerging innovation systems: implications for environmental innovations," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 09-08, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Apr 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:0908

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franco Malerba, 2006. "Innovation and the evolution of industries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 3-23, April.
    2. Andersson, Bjorn A. & Jacobsson, Staffan, 2000. "Monitoring and assessing technology choice: the case of solar cells," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(14), pages 1037-1049, November.
    3. Garud, Raghu & Karnoe, Peter, 2003. "Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 277-300, February.
    4. Neij, Lena, 1997. "Use of experience curves to analyse the prospects for diffusion and adoption of renewable energy technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(13), pages 1099-1107, November.
    5. Klepper, Steven, 1997. "Industry Life Cycles," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 145-181.
    6. Jacobsson, Staffan & Johnson, Anna, 2000. "The diffusion of renewable energy technology: an analytical framework and key issues for research," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 625-640, July.
    7. Sagar, A. D. & Holdren, J. P., 2002. "Assessing the global energy innovation system: some key issues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 465-469, May.
    8. Dosi, Giovanni & Nelson, Richard R, 1994. "An Introduction to Evolutionary Theories in Economics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 153-172, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mlecnik, Erwin & Visscher, Henk & van Hal, Anke, 2010. "Barriers and opportunities for labels for highly energy-efficient houses," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4592-4603, August.

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    environmental innovations; technological innovation systems;

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