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The roles of the state in the governance of socio-technical systems' transformation


  • Borrás, Susana
  • Edler, Jakob


The transformative turn of innovation policy has resulted in calls for a more entrepreneurial and directional role of the state. However, the multiple roles that the state might play in such processes remain underexplored. This paper studies the embedded role of the state in four distinct modes of governance in socio-technical systems. Using a three-pillar analytical model, the paper examines four illustrative cases: cryptocurrencies, smart cities, automated vehicles, and nuclear power. The paper identifies 13 different roles of the state, indicating relevant variation across the four modes of governance. We discuss whether some roles of the state are more transformative than others, and provide clues for policy implications, and a future research agenda. The concept developed in the paper contributes to a more differentiated understanding of the transformative roles of the state.

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  • Borrás, Susana & Edler, Jakob, 2020. "The roles of the state in the governance of socio-technical systems' transformation," Discussion Papers "Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis" 65, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fisidp:65

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Weber, K. Matthias & Rohracher, Harald, 2012. "Legitimizing research, technology and innovation policies for transformative change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1037-1047.
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    5. Schot, Johan & Steinmueller, W. Edward, 2018. "Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1554-1567.
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    1. Mora, Luca & Gerli, Paolo & Ardito, Lorenzo & Messeni Petruzzelli, Antonio, 2023. "Smart city governance from an innovation management perspective: Theoretical framing, review of current practices, and future research agenda," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    2. Janssen, Matthijs & Wanzenböck, Iris & Fünfschilling, Lea & Pontinakis, Dimitris, 2023. "Governance arrangements for the implementation of transformative innovation policy: Insights from a comparative case study," Papers in Innovation Studies 2023/13, Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research.
    3. Robinson, Douglas K.R. & Schoen, Antoine & Larédo, Philippe & Gallart, Jordi Molas & Warnke, Philine & Kuhlmann, Stefan & Ordóñez-Matamoros, Gonzalo, 2021. "Policy lensing of future-oriented strategic intelligence: An experiment connecting foresight with decision making contexts," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).
    4. Douglas K. R. Robinson & Antoine Schoen & Philippe Larédo & Jordi Molas Gallart & Philine Warnke & Stefan Kuhlmann & Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros, 2021. "Policy lensing of future-oriented strategic intelligence: An experiment connecting foresight with decision making contexts," Post-Print hal-03232913, HAL.
    5. Stahl, Bernd Carsten & Brooks, Laurence & Hatzakis, Tally & Santiago, Nicole & Wright, David, 2023. "Exploring ethics and human rights in artificial intelligence – A Delphi study," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
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    7. Matthijs Jansen, 2022. "Legitimation and Effects of Mission-Oriented Innovation Policies: A Spillover Perspective," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 243(4), pages 7-28, December.
    8. Jürgen Janger & Thomas König, 2020. "Forschungspolitik in Österreich. Zentrale Ansatzpunkte für eine Leistungssteigerung in der Grundlagenforschung," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 66625, January.
    9. Jackwerth, Thomas & Afghani, Nof & Daimer, Stephanie & Lindner, Ralf & Wittmann, Florian, 2023. "Public sector organisations as agents of transformations: A framework for analysing structural changes within Public Sector Organisations (PSO)," Discussion Papers "Innovation Systems and Policy Analysis" 80, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    10. Lindner, Ralf & Edler, Jakob & Hufnagl, Miriam & Kimpeler, Simone & Kroll, Henning & Roth, Florian & Wittmann, Florian & Yorulmaz, Merve, 2021. "Mission-oriented innovation policy: From ambition to successful implementation," Perspectives – Policy Briefs 02 / 2021, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    11. Bundgaard, Lasse & Borrás, Susana, 2021. "City-wide scale-up of smart city pilot projects: Governance conditions," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 172(C).
    12. Ola Michalec & Cian O’Donovan & Mehdi Sobhani, 2021. "What is robotics made of? The interdisciplinary politics of robotics research," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 8(1), pages 1-15, December.
    13. Edler, Jakob & Köhler, Jonathan Hugh & Wydra, Sven & Salas-Gironés, Edgar & Schiller, Katharina & Braun, Annette, 2021. "Dimensions of systems and transformations: Towards an integrated framework for system transformations," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S03/2021, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    14. Inga Ulnicane & William Knight & Tonii Leach & Bernd Carsten Stahl & Winter-Gladys Wanjiku, 2021. "Framing governance for a contested emerging technology:insights from AI policy [The next space race is Artificial Intelligence]," Policy and Society, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 158-177.
    15. Loewen, Bradley, 2022. "Revitalizing varieties of capitalism for sustainability transitions research: Review, critique and way forward," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).

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