Systemic transitions, systemic policies: mapping and managing policy options in complex innovation environments

Toni Ahlqvist, Mika Nieminen, Heidi Auvinen, Anu Tuominen, Juha Oksanen, Sampsa Ruutu

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


    We have utilized a new kind of combination of foresight, assessment, system dynamic modelling and societal embedding (see Ahlqvist et al. 2012) in order to understand a highly complex and evolving socio-technical system (e.g. Geels 2002). The framework is based on an idea that innovation-related strategic decision-making situations vary by their contextual and technological orientation. In this paper we present conceptual tools as well as a methodological model on how to manage policy options. Our paper has three sections. The first section describes our perspective to policy in the systemic context. We discuss the notions of systemic policies and policies of the systems as a meta-level heuristics. The second section discusses different methodological approaches to analyse the systemic policies. Our approach bases on the methodological combination of foresight, system dynamic modelling and future-oriented assessment. The third section depicts our case study, which is an analysis of transport system transition in the Helsinki metropolitan region. We demonstrate a system dynamic model of the transport system in the Helsinki metropolitan region. The overall vision for the system was to enable emission free transport in cities 2050. In the case analysis, and in the modelling exercise as the main part of it, we explore the principle vision in the context of the Helsinki metropolitan area. Three alternative vision paths emphasising three different solutions to reach the vision were then mapped. The paper introduces new methodological tools for understanding and steering evolving socio-technical system. The specific advantage of the suggested approach is that it is able to concretely assess the consequences of various policy actions (including the more systematic possibility to map the intended and unintended consequences of the policies), define various paths to desired societal vision, and assess the usability of various policy measures in the context of specific socio-technical change. The diffusion and development of new innovations depends on the social context and selected policy measures. The case of emission free transport indicates concretely, how an optimal mix of various policy measures may support change towards desired vision in a complex socio-technical environment, and how various possible paths towards vision can be defined..
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEU-SPRI 2013: The management of innovation policies
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventEu-SPRI Forum Annual Conference 2013: THE MANAGEMENT OF INNOVATION POLICIES: new forms of collaboration in policy design, implementation and evaluation - Madrid, Spain
    Duration: 10 Apr 201312 Apr 2013 (Conference programme)


    ConferenceEu-SPRI Forum Annual Conference 2013
    Internet address


    • systemic transition
    • systemic policy
    • socio-technical change
    • innovation environment
    • integration of methods
    • transport system


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