Creative Destruction or Mere Niche Creation? Innovation Policy Mixes for Sustainability Transitions

31 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016

See all articles by Paula Kivimaa

Paula Kivimaa

SPRU, University of Sussex; Government of the Republic of Finland - Finnish Environment Institute

Florian Kern

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU)

Date Written: January 23, 2015

Abstract

Recently, there has been an increasing interest in policy mixes in innovation studies. While it has long been acknowledged that the stimulation of innovation and technological change involves different types of policy instruments, how such instruments form policy mixes has only recently become of interest. We argue that an area in which policy mixes are particularly important is the field of sustainability transitions. Transitions imply not only the development of disruptive innovations but also of policies aiming for wider change in socio-technical systems. We propose that ideally policy mixes for transitions might include elements of ‘creative destruction’, involving both policies aiming for the ‘creation’ of new and for ‘destabilising’ the old. We develop a novel analytical framework including the two policy mix dimensions (‘creation’ and ‘destruction’) by broadening the technological innovation system functions approach, and by expanding the concept of ‘motors of innovation’. We test this framework by analysing ‘low energy’ policy mixes in Finland and the UK. We find that both countries have diverse policy mixes to support energy efficiency and reduce energy demand with instruments to cover all functions on the creation side. Despite the demonstrated need for such policies, unsurprisingly destabilising functions are addressed by fewer policies, but there are empirical examples of such policies in both countries. The concept of ‘motors of creative destruction’ is introduced to expand innovation and technology policy debates to go beyond policy mixes consisting of technology push and demand pull instruments, and to consider a wider range of policy instruments which may contribute to sustainability transitions.

Keywords: innovation and technology policy, policy mix, sustainability transitions energy efficiency, motors of innovation, technological innovation system (TIS)

Suggested Citation

Kivimaa, Paula and Kern, Florian, Creative Destruction or Mere Niche Creation? Innovation Policy Mixes for Sustainability Transitions (January 23, 2015). SWPS 2015-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2743173 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2743173

Paula Kivimaa (Contact Author)

SPRU, University of Sussex ( email )

Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

Government of the Republic of Finland - Finnish Environment Institute ( email )

00260 Helsinki
Finland

Florian Kern

University of Sussex - Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU) ( email )

Mantell Building
Falmer
Brighton BN1 9RH UK, Sussex
United Kingdom

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