Managing technical-institutional design processes: some strategic lessons from environmental co-operatives in the Netherlands

D. Roep, J.D. van der Ploeg, J.S.C. Wiskerke

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    Abstract

    In this paper the case of the environmental co-operatives VEL and VANLA is reviewed in terms of co-evolving technical and institutional change and the strategic lessons to be learned for a pro-active management of such complex technical-institutional design processes. Facing the many-sided crisis in agriculture the two co-operatives developed a radically different approach. The aim is to re-ground agriculture in local agro-ecological processes following the approach of lowering external inputs (i.e., material inputs, capital and labour). The results are promising: a system-innovation is emerging out of a wide range of connected novel operational practices (i.e., novelties) including technical as well as institutional aspects. The findings of VEL and VANLA stress once again the need for a simultaneous redesign of technical and institutional change to facilitate a transition towards a more sustainable agriculture. Furthermore we conclude that this transition cannot be rooted in promising, innovative practices that embody the potential to challenge conventional scientific approaches to sustainable agricultural development. More space should be created for 'smart' experimentation exploring and evaluating the potentialities of different transition paths.Additional keywords: innovation, regime, multi-level perspective, strategic niche management
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-217
    Number of pages23
    JournalNJAS Wageningen journal of life sciences
    Volume51
    Issue number1-2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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