Creating actionable knowledge one step at a time: An analytical framework for tracing systems and agency in niche innovation pathways

Katharina Hölscher, Julia M. Wittmayer*, Alfred Olfert, Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers, Jörg Walther, Georg Schiller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We present a practice-oriented analytical framework that supports the generation of actionable knowledge for practice and policy actors to facilitate sustainable niche innovations to emerge and mature. Originating from an applied research context, the framework combines and operationalises existing transition-related concepts and frameworks to build on their respective strengths and make them more relevant for practice. The framework facilitates tracing the development pathways of niche innovations from system-centred and agency-centred perspectives to yield insights into both the complex dynamics of innovation processes and the options for actions by different actors. We apply the framework to three cases of innovative coupled infrastructures in Germany and reflect on the extent to which these gauged actionable knowledge. Far from being a silver bullet to realising transformative change, making theoretical frameworks applicable to practice, and applying them in collaborative ways is nevertheless an important step when aiming to generate actionable knowledge for sustainability transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100682
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the partners at the German Environmental Agency, Moritz M.ller and Steffen Maschmeyer for their support leading to this paper. The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the German Federal Environment Agency.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Environment Agency (grant number 3715 48 102 0).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


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