Grassroots innovations for sustainability are attracting increasing policy attention. Drawing upon a wide range of empirical research into community energy in the UK, and taking recent support from national government as a case study, we apply three distinct analytical perspectives: strategic niche management, niche policy advocacy, and critical niches. Whilst the first and second perspectives appear to explain policy influence in grassroots innovation adequately, each also shuts out more transformational possibilities. We therefore argue that, if grassroots innovation is to realise its full potential, then we need to also pursue a third, critical niches perspective, and open up debate about more socially transformative pathways to sustainability.
Read more about our project on ‘Grassroots innovation in low energy digital fabrication‘.