Innovation Chain

A central concept used to promote this storyline was the existence of an “innovation chain”, which is “a very, very powerful tool to sell the concept of innovation to people who don’t know anything about it” (interview 26). A business person centrally involved in setting up the [Carbon Trust] remembers:

“the key areas we were to look at first of all energy efficiency.. The other areas we set up were the R and D programmes. So we wanted to do two things: you know you have got this valley of death. You have got new technologies that are near market that need commercialisation. It needs a lot of money between something that is near market and actually getting it to the market… We wanted to fund near market demonstration projects. We also wanted to put money into the carbon technologies of the future… at that time there was a definite market weakness in all of these areas…”

The idea of valleys of death for new technologies or an innovation gap are particular metaphors which were used to justify public support for low-carbon innovation in this storyline. The idea is that new and emerging technologies “get stuck” at particular stages of the innovation chain, for example in the demonstration phase, such as during field trials…

(Kern, 2011:  10-1)

Kern, F. 2011. Ideas, institutions, and interests: explaining policy divergence in fostering “system innovations” towards sustainability. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy  Vol 29.

Compare Valley of Death

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: