The article

Recent attempts to conceptualize the multi-level governance of transformative innovation policy make strong arguments in favour of pursuing societal challenges at the subnational scale. This article suggests, that these recent efforts risk falling into a scalar trap, because they rely on a theoretical assumption about the policy effectiveness of the subnational scale. In response, the paper proposes a constructivist approach to the spatial organization of transformative innovation policy. The constructivist approach views scale as continuously produced and contested by actors. Moreover, it suggests that rescaling may be an important aspect of multi-level governance of transformative innovation policy because it has the potential to alter the influence of actors in the prevailing socio-technical system. The approach is illustrated with an empirical analysis of waste management in Denmark where a transformative innovation policy has recently been introduced, rescaling decision-making away from a traditionally strong subnational scalar arrangement.

The interviewee

Stine Hach Juul Madsen PhD Candidate at the Department of Human Geography and CIRCLE, Lund University

The interview

Stine, thank you very much for having a coffee break with me, how are you doing?

I’m good thank you, how are you? I’m doing great

I’m not asking you about your coffee since we’re having both the same black coffee in Sweden, which is really nice, but I want to talk with you about your paper on transformative innovation policy, could you please tell me what the paper is about?

The paper is about the spatial organization of transformative innovation policy, so basically because transformative innovation policy takes place across various levels of governance, so the nation-state city and regional government supernational agencies are all formulating and trying to implement transformative innovation policy, but we don’t know very much about what is going, on spatially and where we should be addressing the sort of societal and environmental challenges that we want our transformative innovation policy to address, so that’s what the paper is about,

I’m interested but I want to know what is actually transformative innovation policy, could you please provide us with a definition?

It’s uh it’s really an expression I would say of a much broader term, I like to use the term normative, the normative turn in innovation policy, which is really about a change in the agenda and the objective of innovation policy, so rather than focusing sort of maybe quite specifically on economic growth as an agenda, there has been a broadening of agendas and so there’s a much greater focus on social and environmental challenges and and trying to make sure that innovation policy has a direction towards these challenges and that the content of innovation is addressing these challenges,

How important is that and please can you tell us can you tell me the findings of your paper?

the main finding in the paper really is that rather than a sort of assuming that one scale is going to be the most efficient scale for the organization of transformative innovation policy i try to suggest that um there may be transformative potential in re-scaling so shifting scales and I developed that idea based on sort of geographical literature and transitions literature and I also um link it to a a case study.

Could you please tell us what drove you to write this paper what was your personal motivation?

yeah I mean it was really a curiosity um so I was reading literature on the spatial organization of transformative innovation policy and there was a lot of focus on the local scale, the importance of organizing transformative innovation policy at the local scale, but at the same time I was studying the danish ways sector, where there is currently a move to abandon many decades of municipal strong municipal governance in order to implement a transformative innovation policy so I thought there was a an odd tension there and I wanted to explore that further and and and that really led me to try to extend our conceptual understanding of the spatial organization of transformative innovation policy,

Impressive as a single author of your PhD I imagine that was quite of a challenge, but very impressive thing to do so congratulations I want to also ask you about the policy implications of your paper if you had a policy maker in front of you what would you say

I would say that the it’s a tough job that they’re doing because unfortunately we can’t just apply the same model of spatial organization in every individual place and in every individual system we want to change or challenge we want to address so I think it’s really about understanding where spatially are we reproducing the problem that we want to address and can we give other actors power as a way to kind of upset the existing system.

Very important I thank you very much I want to wish you all the best for your PhD and for your future career and see you next time in Sweden, maybe somewhere else to have a coffee break. Yeah that sounds very lovely thank you, very much thank you for watching if you’re interested in more details about this academic publication you can find here the link below find us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or listen to our podcast on Spotify see you next time bye.