The ​​Diffusion of Transformative Innovations: Literature Review and Case Study

  • Project no.152770
  • Duration 04/2022 - 03/2023

Decreasing emission budgets, missed reduction targets and crossing "planetary boundaries" highlight the need to significantly accelerate the shift towards sustainability. While many established technologies and solutions already aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, new technologies, products, services or approaches must also contribute to this so-called "Great Transformation".
This project DifTI aims to further develop the concept of Transformative Innovations (TI) (according to the German Zukunftsimpuls Nr. 18 of the Wuppertal Institute) with regard to the speed of diffusion processes and the responsibilities of different actors.

The researchers will first conduct a literature review and relate the concept of TI to different seminal strands of literature about innovation and diffusion processes. As a next step, the concept will be further developed on the basis of a case study. The case study analyses the diffusion of renewable energies in the industrial sector. Which factors played a central role for accelerating or slowing down the diffusion of transformative innovations in the past? What can be learnt for future diffusion processes?

Finally, to validate the (interim) results and to discuss the applicability of the concept of TI to the industrial transformation, the researchers discuss their findings with stakeholders from science and industry in the course of the project.

Project team




  • Vera und Georg Spahn-Stiftung zur Förderung der Erforschung einer zukunftsfähigen Gestaltung menschlichen Lebens

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