What is it about?

Sustainability transitions require shifts in multiple social systems, practices, and institutions. Different innovation perspectives are essential for achieving and understanding transitions. They range from actor-oriented (organizational innovation management, regional innovation ecosystems) to mode-oriented (responsible innovation, mission-driven innovation) to process-oriented (social innovation) perspectives. For sustainability transitions to be governed, we need a better understanding of how the relevant contributions of innovations can be measured. In this article, we review measurement status across the different innovation perspectives. We find that measurement status becomes weaker as we move from actor-oriented to process-oriented innovations. To address this shortcoming, we then develop a conceptual approach for measuring social innovation. Thereby, we integrate organizational innovation capacities and regional contexts with the transformational elements of social innovation.

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Why is it important?

Innovations are key to driving society's transition towards sustainable futures. Hence measuring where we stand is crucial to shaping future transition paths.


Gorgi and I have embarked on a journey together with these articles, not knowing where we would end up. It was not only a pleasure but also an exciting and inspiring experience.

Dr Judith Terstriep
Westphalian University Gelsenkirchen, Institute for Work and Technology

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Pinning it down? Measuring innovation for sustainability transitions, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, December 2022, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.eist.2022.11.005.
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