New paper evaluates “disruptive innovation” framework

A new paper by CIED Co-Director Professor Frank Geels published as part of a Special Section on ‘Disruptive Innovation and Energy Transformation’ in the journal Energy Research and Social Science, compares the usefulness of two theoretical frameworks for sustainability transitions research: the “disruptive innovation” framework and the “multi-level perspective” (MLP).

Prof Geels argues that the “disruptive innovation” framework has a narrow focus on how new technologies impact existing firms and industry structures. The MLP, in contrast, has a broader  focus on multi-dimensional interactions between radical innovations and socio-technical systems. The MLP therefore provides a better understanding of system transformation and is more useful for understanding low carbon transitions.

The article also aims to identify three challenges and  new directions for socio-technical transitions research and the MLP:

1) multiple innovations and gradual system reconfiguration

2) causal mechanisms for political, cultural, business and consumer processes

3) a processual theory of change

Read the full paper.

Find out more about the work of Frank Geels at CIED.