Tag Archives: innovation

Global Governance and Planetary Boundaries

by Victor Galaz (twitter.com/vgalaz)

The Stockholm Resilience Centre hosted a small scientific meeting in mid-March entitled “Planetary Boundaries, Multiple Global Crises, and Global Governance”. This meeting was the first governance follow up of two recent publications dealing with the possibilities of global scale, rapid and interacting global environmental crises previously featured in this blog [here and here].

A number of internationally renowned scholars contributed to this meeting, and you can meet many of them in these short videos produced by the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Meet Frank Biermann (IVM, Netherlands) as he explores the challenges posed to global environmental governance; Derk Loorbach (DRIFT, Erasmus University, Netherlands) as he elaborates on the role of transition management for understanding resilience; Karin Bäckstrand (Lund University, Sweden) as she discusses the link between democracy and global environmental governance; and Jeremy Allouche (IDS, UK) as he explores the link between environmental scarcity and conflict.

Derk Loorbach

Jeremy Allouche

Karin Bäckstrand

Frank Biermann (external link)

Stuart Kauffman on Innovation in Complex Systems

Another great lecture online from our friends at the Waterloo Institute for Innovation and Complexity – University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada). In this talk, Stuart Kauffman, one of the founders of the field of complex systems, explains the principles which he proposes underlie innovation and economic growth. He illustrates these principles with real world examples from his experience in industry and the academe. Yuu can also find an interview with S. Kauffman on the same topic, in the Scientific American here.

Speaker Profile

Stuart A. Kauffman is a professor at the University of Calgary with a shared appointment between biological sciences, physics, and astronomy. He is also the leader of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics (IBI) which conducts leading-edge interdisciplinary research in systems biology. Thirty-five years ago, he developed the Kauffman models, which are random networks exhibiting a kind of self-organization that he terms “order for free.” He is the author of The Origins of Order, At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization, Investigations and Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason, and Religion.

Climate Governance Innovation meets Complexity Theory

Social Innovation Generation (SiG) at University of Waterloo has posted a range of interesting talks on complexity theory, governance and innovation. In this talk, Mathew Hoffman explores the applicability of self-organized criticality to the study of innovation in global governance. After introducing the concept of self-organized criticality, the discussion will turn to its utility for studying social systems. Matthew Hoffmann will present both an agent-based model of the evolution of social norms and empirical illustrations of innovations in global governance drawn from work on climate change and multilateral treaty-making.

Speaker Profile
Matthew Hoffman is an Assistant Professor in the department of Political Science at the University of Toronto and in the department of Social Sciences at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. His research interests include global environmental governance, social constructivism, and complexity theory. His 2005 book from SUNY press “Ozone Depletion and Climate Change: Constructing a Global Response” explored a complex adaptive systems approach to global environmental governance and his current book manuscript to be published by Oxford University Press investigates the phenomenon of experimentation with multiple forms of climate governance.

Conference “Experiments, system innovation and sustainability transitions in Asia”

Experiments, system innovation and sustainability transitions in Asia
15-17 July, 2010, AMARI Rincome Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand
*** Call for Papers***
Deadline for Short Papers: 30 April, 2010
Transitions to alternative, more sustainable, development pathways are crucial to human well-being world-wide, but have been more studied with the focus of policy action mainly in developed country contexts. However, the transformative changes occurring now in the rapidly urbanising and industrialising Asian countries mean that this focus needs to shift. Transitions towards more sustainable development pathways are also fundamental challenges in emerging and rapidly-growing economies and societies.
Achieving a more profound decoupling of economic growth and development gains from resource and pollution intensities requires deep-seated social, institutional and technological change. Such change needs to be systemic in the sense of affecting structures and behaviour across the economy and society; what has come to be called ‘system innovation’.
Previous research has shown that system innovation occurs through a quasi-evolutionary interaction between innovations emerging in niches and opportunities for change opening-up in socio-technical regimes. System innovation involves the destabilisation of existing incumbent regimes and their reconfiguration or transformation by new technologies, actors, behaviours and rules. Such processes tend to take time; typically some decades.
The new research challenge is to apply these concepts and ideas to rapidly-developing country contexts. Here socio-technical regimes are already undergoing transformation, but often following models from technologically-leading countries. The question is whether in rapidly developing country contexts we can also identify interactions between niches generating sustainable alternatives and emergent socio-technical regimes that could transform development pathways.
There is preliminary evidence of a great variety of ‘sustainability experiments’ – defined as planned initiatives to embody a highly-novel socio-technical configuration likely to lead to substantial (environmental) sustainability gains – underway in Asia. This conference will focus on the nature and role of these spaces for innovation in transforming Asian development pathways in field such as energy, mobility, agriculture and housing in both urban and rural areas.
The conference will take stock of what has been learned in the IHDP-IT (International Human Dimensions Programme Core Project on Industrial Transformation) over the last years, as well as move forward the new research agenda now supported by the APN (Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research). We welcome an international network of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and other actors who are interested in exploring alternative, more sustainable development pathways.
All enquiries about the conference should be directed to the conference email: it-apn2010@ivm.vu.nl. Information about registration, accommodation, venue etc will be posted at the conference website.
The conference is organised under the auspices of the IHDP’s Industrial Transformation project; APN – Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research; USER, Chiang Mai University, Thailand; Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands and the Jadavpur University, India.

First Berlin Forum Innovation in Governance (20-21 May 2010)

Message from our colleagues in Berlin:

The Innovation in Governance Research Group at the Technische Universität Berlin is pleased to publish a Call for Papers for the First Berlin Forum Innovation in Governance, which will take place in Berlin on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 May, 2010. This Forum is the first in an initial series of four, which will take place on an annual basis until 2013.

Entitled “Studying the emergence and development of new forms of governance”, the first Forum aims to lay the conceptual and methodological grounds for studying the genesis, dynamics and politics of new forms of governance.

We therefore invite you to submit proposals for papers that discuss and/or probe particular approaches to conceptualise innovation in governance and trace the development of governance patterns through time and space.

We also invite proposals for poster presentations. A planned poster session will include a concourse with five minutes for each poster to highlight questions, approach and findings. We will be able to cover travel expenses for a limited number of participants. Please therefore indicate your need for travel funds when submitting your proposal.

The deadline for the submission of all abstracts is Sunday, 14 February 2010. Please submit your proposal via email to crowe@ztg.tu-berlin.de<mailto:crowe@ztg.tu-berlin.de>. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by the end of February.

VIII. You say “transition”, I say “transformation”…

The need to support transitions, or transformations, towards sustainability has become one of the hottest topics amongst sustainability scientists the last years. A range of theoretical approaches deal with different aspects of transformational system change, including scholars of “transition management” and “resilience theory”. These communities have worked separately for decades, but seem too be converging. But, what is the difference between “transitions” and “transformations”? Really?

Listen to Dr. Derk Loorbach from the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (Drift, Erasmus University Rotterdam), as he explores what he sees as the main similarities and differences between the two schools. Listen also to Dr. Per Olsson at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University), as he responds to Derk’s observations.

Interview with Dr Derk Loorbach [external link]. What is “transition management”, and how is that different from “transformations”? And which policy interventions support transitions?

Interview with Per Olsson by Eric Paglia at Think Globally Radio. What is a “transformation” in a social-ecological system? How is it different from “transition management” approaches? And how can transformations be supported?

Part IV. What is Innovation? And Why Does it Matter?

Recent posts elaborated the role of adaptation and adaptiveness. Another topic that seems to be gaining increased interest from sustainability science and environmental policy scholars, is ‘innovation’. But what is ‘innovation’ really, and why does it matter? Listen to Frances Westley as she explores the role of social innovation, and Rebecca Hanlin as she elaborates the need for innovations in health. And to round up this post, Jan-Peter Voss explains in a Skype-interview how innovations cascade across levels in governance.

Rebecca Hanlin Dr. Rebecca Hanlin is Lecturer in Development Policy and Practice at the Open University (UK). Rebecca’s work is in the area of innovation and development with a specific focus on health innovation and its implications for the provision of equitable healthcare. She is also one of the key-note speakers on the session on Adaptiveness and Innovation in Earth System Governance.

Interview with Rebecca Hanlin. What is health innovation? And which are the most pressing research challenges? [8:41]

Dr. Jan-Peter Voss is Project Leader for the initiative “Innovation in Governance” at the Centre for Technology and Society (Berlin). He is also the main editor for the book “Reflexive Governance for Sustainable Development”.


Prof. Frances Westley is the JW McConnell Chair in Social Innovation, University of  Waterloo (CA) . Frances is a sociologist with research focus on sources and sinks of  resilience, innovation, and transformation in individuals, organizations, and social systems.  She is also the author of “Getting to Maybe – How the World is Changed”. Interview with Frances Westley. What is social innovation? And which are the most important remaining theoretical puzzles? [14:30]