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Dimensions of systems and transformations: Towards an integrated framework for system transformations

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  • Edler, Jakob
  • Köhler, Jonathan Hugh
  • Wydra, Sven
  • Salas-Gironés, Edgar
  • Schiller, Katharina
  • Braun, Annette

Abstract

There is a need for concepts and methods to develop generic insights across cases in transitions studies and to analyse "transformational system failures" in policy. This paper identifies dimensions for a system level analysis and illustrates their application to compare cases and identify possible entry points for policy. System dimensions are grouped into the function of the socio-technical system, its characteristics, the context and its agency. Transformation dimensions address drivers and barriers, politics and dynamics of the system. The illustrations for German bioeconomy and sustainable mobility in the Netherlands both indicate directionality failures and contested policy goals. This results in reflexivity failures in the German bioeconomy, because clear goals are not set, impeding the monitoring of progress. In contrast, mobility initiatives in the Netherlands are constantly adapting to moving targets. Governance structures facilitating system change need to avoid capture by vested interests influencing the routes of change. Both illustrations allow to draw general conclusions as to the value of a structured systems and transformation analysis to support policy analysis and practice.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fisisi:s032021
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