Evaluating systemic innovation and transition programmes: Towards a culture of learning
Review article, 2022

Innovation systems and transitions thinking have become increasingly pervasive in what has been labelled a third generation of challenge-led innovation and transitions policy programmes. Although this upsurge is cause for celebration, we argue that the challenge now lies in developing the evaluation methods that allow for the assessment of strong and weak programmes, to foster a culture of learning and to maintain momentum. Therefore, in this brief review, we take stock of existing approaches and identify 6 tentative categories of evaluations, which we map out on the axis of formative and summative evaluation. Combining summative evaluations with more frequent formative evaluations may create the environment for rapid learning and policy adaptation necessary to prevent the current rise of systemic innovation and transition programmes from being short lived.


Matthijs J. Janssen

Utrecht University

Anna Bergek

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics

Joeri H. Wesseling

Utrecht University

PLOS Sustainability and Transformation

2767-3197 (eISSN)

Vol. 1 3 e0000008

System innovation for societal challenges: A strategic knowledge platform

VINNOVA (2017-01600), 2018-01-01 -- 2022-12-31.

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Economics and Business

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship



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