Time for a Change: On the Patterns of Diffusion of Innovation

Grubler A (1996). Time for a Change: On the Patterns of Diffusion of Innovation. IIASA Research Report (Reprint). IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RR-97-003. Reprinted from Daedelus, 125(3):19-42 [1996].

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Abstract

The report presents an empirical examination of the diffusion processes of innovation. Temporal patterns of the diffusion of technological innovations, and the implications of these patterns may have for the future of the human environment, are considered. Diffusion patterns of technologies follow a non-linear, S-shaped time path, which does not vary across time or cultures. The concepts of invention and innovation are also considered in conjunction with diffusion patterns. Diffusion is a process of imitation and homogenization, but with clusters and lumps. These discontinuities may be considered as inherent features of the evolutionary process that governs social behavior. Technology clusters have historically been instrumental in alleviating many adverse environmental effects, and the emergence of a new cluster could hold the promise of an environmentally more compatible technological trajectory. However, this process takes time, and rates of change normally range from several decades to a century. Appropriate incentives and policies may encourage the development of more benign technologies and their diffusion over a shorter or longer period of time, this time factor being contingent upon many variables.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Report (Reprint))
Research Programs: Environmentally Compatible Energy Strategies (ECS)
Bibliographic Reference: Reprinted from Daedelus; 125(3):19-42 [1996]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:07
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2016 07:12
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/4851

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