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Technological Transitions and System Innovations

A Co-Evolutionary and Socio-Technical Analysis Frank W. Geels, Professor of System Innovation and Sustainability, University of Manchester, UK
This important book addresses how long term and large scale shifts from one socio-technical system to another come about, using insights from evolutionary economics, sociology of technology and innovation studies. These major changes involve not just technological changes, but also changes in markets, regulation, culture, industrial networks and infrastructure.
Extent: 328 pp
Hardback Price: £103.00 Web: £92.70
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 978 1 84542 009 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Transport
  • Environment
  • Transport
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Innovation Policy
  • Technology and ICT
  • Urban and Regional Studies
  • Transport
This important book addresses how long term and large scale shifts from one socio-technical system to another come about, using insights from evolutionary economics, sociology of technology and innovation studies. These major changes involve not just technological changes, but also changes in markets, regulation, culture, industrial networks and infrastructure.

The book develops a multi-level perspective, arguing that transitions take place through the alignment of multiple processes at three levels: niche, regime and landscape. This perspective is illustrated by detailed historical case studies: the transition from sailing ships to steamships, the transition from horse-and-carriage to automobiles and the transition from propeller-piston engine aircraft to turbojets.

This book will be of great interest to researchers in innovation studies, evolutionary economics, sociology of technology and environmental studies. It will also be useful for policy makers involved in long-term sustainability and systems transitions issues.
‘The book provides a useful interdisciplinary overview of the range of existing theoretical approaches that a scholar might wish to apply to studies of technological transitions and system innovation. In adopting a novel sociotechnical and coevolutionary approach it represents a significant advance in understanding the factors that influence how such transitions come about and identifying important underlying patterns and mechanisms.’
– Andrew Williams, Journal of Industrial Ecology

‘This major effort at understanding technological transitions from the inside, not only permits a richer understanding of those complex processes in the past, but also provides a powerful set of analytic tools to guide action towards the future. It will be useful for academics, technologists and enlightened policymakers as well as for interested laypersons.’
– Carlota Perez, CERF, Cambridge University and SPRU, University of Sussex, UK

‘Sociotechnical transformations have been seen as too complex to grasp, but Frank Geels shows, using a judicious combination of history, sociology and economics of technological change, that it is possible to understand the dynamics and identify specific types of transformation.’
– Arie Rip, University of Twente, The Netherlands

‘Frank Geels’s book gives us a new perspective on how society moves from one technological regime to another. Understanding these transitions is essential if we are to get to grips with what we need to do to switch our societies to more sustainable states and how technologies figure in that switch.’
– Ken Green, Institute of Innovation Research, The University of Manchester, UK
Contents: Foreword by Johan Schot Preface 1. Introduction 2. Building Blocks from the Literature 3. Conceptual Perspective on System Innovations and Technological Transitions 4. The Transition from Sailing Ships to Steamships in British Oceanic Transport (1780–1890) 5. The Transition from Horse-drawn Carriages to Automobiles in American Urban Passenger Transportation (1860–1930) 6. The Transition from Piston Engine Aircraft to Jetliners in American Aviation (1930–1975) 7. Conclusions and Discussion Bibliography Index