CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is today seen as a key technology to cut carbon emissions in many of the hard-to-abate sectors such as energy-intensive process industries and the waste-to-energy sector. Although CO2 capture is technically possible, key challenges for realizing CCS persist. Over the past decade, CCS has entered a new phase with more focus on application in energy-intensive industries rather than the energy sector. For CCS value chains to materialize, innovation and implementation thus needs to occur amongst an array of actors, with different innovation modes, institutions, and policy regimes, and with varying sectoral capacities for adaptation and change. There has so far been limited social science research on CCS innovation dynamics, which we suggest approaching as a socio-technical change process. To better understand this process we draw on the sustainability transitions research field and employ the technological innovation system (TIS) framework to study the CCS innovation system in Norway. We find that, overall, the Norwegian CCS TIS displays systemic weaknesses for example in the form of market formation and resource mobilization, yet recent developments suggest a relatively positive momentum for this technological field which is key to meeting global climate mitigation targets.
CO2 capture and storage (CCS) is today seen as a key technology to cut carbon emissions in many of the hard-to-abate sectors such as energy-intensive process industries and the waste-to-energy sector. Although CO2 capture is technically possible, key challenges for realizing CCS persist. Over the past decade, CCS has entered a new phase with more focus on application in energy�intensive industries rather than the energy sector. For CCS value chains to materialize, innovation and implementation thus needs to occur amongst an array of actors, with different innovation modes, institutions, and policy regimes, and with varying sectoral capacities for adaptation and change. There has so far been limited social science research on CCS innovation dynamics, which we suggest approaching as a socio-technical change process. To better understand this process we draw on the sustainability transitions research field and employ the technological innovation system (TIS) framework to study the CCS innovation system in Norway. We find that, overall, the Norwegian CCS TIS displays systemic weaknesses for example in the form of market formation and resource mobilization, yet recent developments suggest a relatively positive momentum for this technological field which is key to meeting global climate mitigation targets.
Industrial symbiosis contributes to the realisation of a circular economy where underutilised assets are shared among different companies and the residual outputs from one industry are used as feedstock for the production processes of other industries. While digital platforms have the potential to facilitate the exchange of excess resources in industrial symbiosis networks, existing platforms have not been very successful hitherto. This research empirically investigates the barriers to industrial symbiosis and how digital platforms (fail to) address them. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven prospective platform providers based in Norwegian industrial parks, and two platform developers and one provider in the Netherlands. Results show that the uptake of platform-enabled industrial symbiosis is still hampered by limited commitment to sustainability, a lack of cooperation and information sharing, as well as technical and economic barriers. Platform design only partially solves the challenges specific to matchmaking platforms that facilitate the identification and exploitation of synergy opportunities.
Grand societal challenges as a policy target have received increasing attention in regional innovation policy. To date, concrete governance strategies to address such challenges with local solutions are underexplored. We propose a small wins approach as a new governance strategy to deal with wicked societal problems. A small wins strategy focuses on accelerating bottom-up initiatives guided by a shared mission. The aim is to activate propelling mechanisms to support and couple self-organizing change processes. We studied 17 regional initiatives for plastic pollution removal in the Netherlands, which show that i. institutional barriers are the hardest for small wins to overcome and achieve wider impact; ii. bottom-up propelling mechanisms reinforce each other, but are generally too weak to transform existing practices due to limited policy support; and iii. systemic propelling mechanisms are largely absent to achieve robust change processes across scales. We see a key task for regional policy to activate systemic mechanisms that help local solutions upscale. This requires policy to learn about the plurality of change processes ‘on the ground’, and to use multi-level governance arrangements to create coherent policies to scale up bottom-up solutions.
The paper explores knowledge recombination by analysing how knowledge networks in established technological fields influenced the formation of the emerging field of green shipping in the period 2007–2018. Previous research has demonstrated that embeddedness, proximity, and status are important mechanisms for the evolution of single technological fields. We investigate if these mechanisms also apply across technological fields. By employing dynamic social network analysis models, we find that actors transferred knowledge across technological fields through (re)combination mechanisms, which affected the emergence of the new technological field, but in different ways. While embeddedness and proximity played an important role, status was less important.
This paper contributes to the recent debate between two important streams within current economic geography and regional studies: global value chains/global production networks theories, and regional innovation system theory. Based on the review of key literature, the authors first identify the key conceptual differences between these two streams and then provide a comparative overview of their policy implications. Thereafter, the authors show that considerable space for mutual inspiration in conceptual as well as policy terms exists, especially between the notions of strategic coupling and the new path development model. Moreover, the authors suggest six additional arenas of mutual conceptual and policy-relevant inspiration between these two streams as avenues for future research.
Maritime transport has received little attention in sustainability transitions research. This sector is mature and heterogeneous, which suggests the need for a more nuanced perspective on socio-technical regimes to understand variation in conditions for adoption of novel technologies that may support sustainability transitions. We consider this important in order to develop more efficient policy to decarbonize the shipping sector. We develop a framework that explicitly differentiates task and institutional environment of user regimes, enabling us to identify regime segmentation and its influence on three key transition conditions: technology maturity and fit, system integration and infrastructure, and acceptability and legitimacy. We apply our framework to analyse development and uptake of battery-electric energy storage solutions within three segments (coastal ferry, coastal fishing, and offshore supply) of Norwegian coastal shipping. Our analysis suggests that the transition process unfolds along different pathways in different user segments, pointing to a need for segment-specific policy instruments.
While transition research (Konrad, Truffer, and Voß 2008; Raven 2007; Wirth and Markard 2011; Papachristos, Sofianos, and Adamides 2013; Geels 2007) and innovation studies (see e.g. Perez 2009; Freeman and Louçã 2001) have long recognized the importance of interactions across sociotechnical systems in shaping change processes, there has been limited sustained interest in such interactions. To date, research has remained largely preoccupied with single system studies. At the same time, real-world sustainability transitions are accelerating and redefining the boundaries of multiple systems simultaneously (e.g., the push for societal electrification or digitalization), requiring new analytical approaches and empirical foci (Rosenbloom 2020; Köhler et al. 2019). Constraining our work to single systems is therefore increasingly insufficient for understanding transitions. In response, scholars have recently noted the need for ‘zooming out’ to capture broadening transitions (Köhler et al. 2019) and in particular called for greater engagement with the role of multi-system interactions (MSI) in sustainability transitions (Andersen et al. 2020; Rosenbloom 2020). There are several strands of work emerging within transition scholarship (from global regimes to deep transitions) that may shed light on MSI but have yet to explicitly engage in dialogue on the subject in a systematic way. The above motivates this dialogue session.
Transition scholars devote surprisingly little attention to the sustainability of digitalization. We call for more work on digitalization in transition studies. We offer a number of perspectives to study the roles of digitalization in sustainability transitions.
This paper investigates the conditions in which the development of new technologies induce structural change in the economy. A literature review reveals three factors that influence the industrial transformative capacity of a technology: context; complementarities; competition. We explore the dynamics of these factors, focusing on the extent and nature of induced activities in adjacent sectors. We apply this framework to study marine renewable energy technologies (MRET) in Portugal. Adjacent sector firms active in several MRET exhibited diversified activity, innovation and internal change. Comparing with Norway, where an offshore sector (oil & gas) supports the emergence of offshore wind, the absence of such sector in Portugal raises challenges but also creates opportunities for the transformation of several other sectors. We develop a new indicator to identify and compare the industrial transformative capacity of innovations. Finally, we discuss the extent to which context, complementarities and competition contribute to accelerate or hinder transformative change.
This report is an output from the INTRANSIT Research Centre on Innovation Policy for Industrial Transformation, Sustainability and Digitalisation. The report presents an analysis of green and digital transformations in five Norwegian industrial sectors: oil and gas, maritime, aquaculture, manufacturing and process industries. By drawing on perspectives from innovation and sustainability transition studies, we analyse how the industrial sectors respond to green and digital pressures as well as opportunities. Our results show that while a green transformation is gathering momentum in the maritime sector, little radical change has yet taken place in various other sectors. Meanwhile, the thrust driving digitalization is often connected to increasing cost-efficiency and competitiveness in global markets. However, in the aquaculture sector, digital technologies are often applied to solve environmental and fish health issues. Green and digital transformations in industrial sectors may thus have points of interaction, leading to complementary, but occasionally also conflicting, developments. Based on empirical findings we draw insights for green and digital transformation policy, and take note on how COVID-19 pandemic may affect such transformations.
Maritime transport faces increasing pressure to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to be in accordance with the Paris Agreement. For this to happen, low- and zero-carbon energy solutions need to be developed. In this paper we draw on sustainability transition literature and introduce the technological innovation system (TIS) framework to the field of maritime transportation research. The TIS approach analytically distinguishes between different innovation system functions that are important for new technologies to develop and diffuse beyond an early phase of experimentation. This provides a basis for technology-specific policy recommendations. We apply the TIS framework to the case of battery-electric and hydrogen energy solutions for coastal maritime transport in Norway. Whereas both battery-electric and hydrogen solutions have developed rapidly, the former is more mature and has a strong momentum. Public procurement and other policy instruments have been crucial for developments to date and will be important for these technologies to become viable options for shipping more generally.
As the world moves towards the Anthropocene, it becomes increasingly important to understand how the natural environment shapes innovation, industry dynamics, and sustainability challenges. We suggest that studying innovation in natural resource based industries yields important insights. Despite the importance of innovation in and transformation of natural resource based industries for development and sustainability, the issue has received limited scholarly attention. To advance our thinking about innovation in these industries, we explore and elaborate on the notion of 'natural resource knowledge idiosyncrasy' which describes how heterogeneity of natural environments often generates a need for unique innovations that require development and application of in situ knowledge. We draw on theories of knowledge stickiness and user-driven innovation to conceptualize natural resource knowledge idiosyncrasy. We qualify and elaborate that conceptualization through a review of case studies. On that basis we discuss implications for innovation policy, sustainability challenges, and further research.
The explorative paper investigates the drivers for the emerging trend of manufacturing reshoring from low- to high-cost locations. To date research on the reshoring phenomenon has been dominated by micro-level analyses of firms in supply chain management and reported in international business literature. The paper introduces reshoring as a research topic to the economic geography research field, arguing that it connects with the broader topic of regional development. To provide a better understanding of the reshoring phenomenon and to test the applicability of the global production network (GPN) framework in the analysis of the phenomenon, the authors analyse the reshoring of nine of Norwegian manufacturing firms. With the multiscalar lens provided by the GPN framework, the authors find that the implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies is a driver for manufacturing reshoring, but only when matched with key regional assets such as automation knowledge and competence, key human capital, and region-specific manufacturing competence. Additionally, reshoring decisions are influenced by extra-regional factors such as changes in the global economy and market fluctuations. Furthermore, the paper provides a refined conceptualization of strategic coupling processes by including acts of disinvestments and reinvestments performed by actors within global production networks. Accordingly, the authors advocate a more nuanced understanding, defined as partial coupling processes, in contrast to the predominant understanding of coupling processes as ruptures. This refined conceptualization provides enhanced analytical purchase when studying the reshoring phenomenon, as it illuminates the complexity of firms’ production and sourcing strategies and the resulting implications for the economic landscape.
The urgency of a sustainability transition in the energy sector has led numerous authors to argue that it can and should be accelerated through active phase-out, disruption and destabilization of the undesirable established technologies. This paper starts out accepting the phase-out premise, but argues that a more nuanced view of ‘established’ technologies and incumbents is needed. Technologies often involve many different sectors, and there may be a great but underappreciated potential to realize transitions through recombinations and diversification by upstream firms providing the components and material inputs for the undesirable technology. Recombination and diversification can also dampen the possible negative effects of transitions such as loss of jobs and bankruptcy of firms that are not at the core of these technologies. By combining literature on transitions and phase-out, technological innovation systems, and diversification, we develop a framework of analysis that is used to study diversification processes in supplier firms in the Norwegian offshore petroleum technology value chain. We find that these firms face a number of diversification challenges that are mostly non-technological. These findings are used to discuss how policies can better support diversification and how theories of sustainability transitions can take this perspective into account. Research highlights • Analyzes technology phase-out in conjunction with industrial diversification • Discusses knowledge continuities in creative destruction and technology phase-out • A framework is articulated to analyze continuities in transformative change • Studies firms that diversify to new sectors in response to decline signals • Presents a multi-sectoral view on technology phase-out in transitions
Building on the chapter “Businesses and industries in sustainability transitions” in the STRN agenda, this viewpoint calls for more attention to how economic and environmental goals can be aligned to enhance the political legitimacy of transitions. This requires, we suggest, a more integrated understanding of the relationship between industrial transformation and sustainability transitions. We provide a tentative articulation of such a perspective by recombining insights from the fields of Industrial Dynamics and Transition Studies. We point to three issues that can serve as starting points for developing such a perspective and argue why those merit more attention in transition studies. These include: (a) attention to the diversity of sectors and firms involved in, and affected by, transitions through inter-sectoral linkages, (b) how existing knowledge bases influence the direction and scope of transitions, and (c) policy challenges associated with parallel transitions in multiple sectors that constitute economy-wide processes of structural change.
Expertise in digital technologies is necessary, but rarely sufficient to generate digital innovation. The purpose of this paper is to explore how specialists rooted in digital and analog knowledge domains engage in cross-domain collaboration to jointly create digital innovation. Our analysis cross-examines the literature on knowledge integration and coordination by examining the role of boundary-spanning tools in fusing divergent types of knowledge. The empirical setting for our study is the development of digital serious games, a novel breed of digital learning products whose creation involves a wide range of gaming/digital and learning/analog expertise. Drawing on an in-depth qualitative study, we find that boundary-spanning tools such as prototypes, mockups, and whiteboards serve as important knowledge bridges buttressing the overall innovation process, enabling diverse experts to increasingly align and integrate their divergent thought worlds and knowledge domains. Furthermore, we find that the alternative interplay among digital and non-digital tools supports the gradual transformation of digital and analog expertise into a novel digital format. Taken together, our results explicate how boundary-spanning tools facilitate collaborative work among specialists rooted in diverse digital and non-digital knowledge domains. Our findings contribute to the literature on knowledge integration and coordination in cross-domain collaboration and digital innovation.