JOURNAL: “Oh Yes! Net-Zero”: Sociotechnical capabilities and regional innovation systems for British industrial decarbonisation

Summary

Authors:

Benjamin K. Sovacool
Kyle S. Herman
Marfuga Iskandarova
Jeremy K. Hall

Boston University
Aarhus University
University of Sussex Business School

“Oh Yes! Net-Zero”: Sociotechnical capabilities and regional innovation systems for British industrial decarbonisation

Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions

June 2024

This paper examines what sociotechnical pathways, capabilities, and regional innovation systems are emerging to support industrial decarbonisation efforts in the UK. It combines and applies insights from evolutionary economic geography and transitions studies, such as sociotechnical capabilities and learning, as well as spatial frameworks such as challenge-oriented regional innovation systems (CoRIS) and green industrial restructuring. Findings show effective use of spatial and technological proximities within industrial net-zero clusters, especially through new forms of networking, collaboration, and partnerships. CoRIS provides the basis for greater reflection on perennial transitions issues, both within and across clusters, related to incumbency and innovation, in addition to spotlighting emergent issues such as light versus deep green restructuring and incremental versus transformative change. The study highlights both incremental and transformative change in industrial decarbonisation, revealing dynamic processes across sociotechnical attributes.