Intersections in system innovation: A nested-case methodology to study co-evolving innovation journeys
Technology Analysis & Strategic Management , Volume 26 - Issue 3 p. 307- 320
Current persistent sustainability challenges are widely understood to require transitions and system innovations. As these systemic changes typically emerge from multiple co-evolving innovations, Schot and Geels [2008. Strategic niche management and sustainable innovation journeys; theory, findings, research agenda, and policy. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management 20, no. 5: 537-54] urge to study the interactions between innovation journeys. Their call for multiplicity has been met through several studies. Yet considering that these analyses still leave the attendant navigational challenges underexposed, this article demonstrates the usefulness of nested-case methodologies. Focusing on the 'intersections' between interpenetrating case histories, in-depth investigation is combined with broader attention to next-order changes. The relevance and implications of these intersections are illustrated through four innovation journeys in the Dutch traffic management field: unfolding largely in parallel, but sometimes intersecting, they yield a mixed picture of trajectory formation and fragmentation. The phenomenon of emergent incoherence is identified as a key strategic challenge in system innovation processes.