Transfer of innovations between different geographical areas: Conference presentation and article in press
Solar xChange team members Kirsten Ulsrud, Harald Rohracher and Charles Muchunku have written an article on how social and technological innovations can be transferred geographically – how the innovations can travel between different places in different parts of the world.
This article presents research on the transfer of sustainable energy innovations between countries of the global South from a socio-technical perspective. The analysis identifies factors important for how a deliberate transfer process may unfold. It is based on monitoring a case of South-South transfer of experiences with village-level solar power supply models from India to Kenya. This research shows that it is not so much stable technical solutions which travel between different spatial and cultural contexts, but that experiences with sustainable technologies in one country can provide important inspiration and knowledge for the development of new socio-technical designs based on local needs in a new socio-spatial context in a different country.
Such learning processes can be especially effective between countries with similar problem situations, such as poverty and lacking access to electricity in rural areas. To achieve a successful transfer, strong emphasis must be put on mutual learning and exchange of knowledge, socio-technical experimentation, adaptation and social embedding. Learning from promising, innovative infrastructures in other geographical areas needs to capture the micro-level interactions between people, technology and socio-cultural contexts, while also taking into account larger processes of system innovation and emerging transitions.
A conference paper on the same topic was presented at the International Sustainability Transitions Conference 2017, at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, by Solar xChange team members Charles Muchunku and Kirsten Ulsrud.