Dilemmas in the Analysis of Technological Change. A Cognitive Approach to Understand Innovation and Change in the Water Sector
In this paper we argue for the need to apply a cognitive approach to understand deep dynamics and determinants of technological evolutions. After examining main contributions from innovation studies to the conceptualization of innovation and change in complex socio-technical environments, we highlight the contribution coming from the application of the cognitive approach to evolutionary studies on technologies and we introduce the concept of technological memory as an interpretative tool to understand those changes. We discuss our hypothesis with reference to several observations carried out in different local contexts – Mexico, India and Italy – in relation to technological change in the water sector. In those cases deliberate attempts to substitute traditional technologies with modern ones led to interesting trajectories of change ranging from the collapse of old technologies to the development of multifaceted hybridization patterns.
Acha V. (2004), Technology Frames: The Art of Perspective and Interpretation in Strategy, SPRU Working paper series, 109.
Agarwal A., Narain S. (1997), Dying Wisdom. Rise, Fall and Potential of India’s Traditional Water harvesting systems, State of India’s Environment: A Citizens’ Report, 4, Centre for science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi.
Ahmad S. (1966), “On the theory of induced innovation”, Economic Journal, 76, 344–357.
AMC – Ahmaedabad Municipal Corporation (2000), Tanka project – A pilot project.
Anderson J.R. (1983), The Architecture of Cognition, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Archibugi D., Lundvall B.- A°. (Eds) (2001), The Globalizing Learning Economy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Argyris C. and Schön D. (1978), Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective, Addison Wesley, Reading, Mass.
Barbanente A., Borri D., Grassini L. (2012), Evolutionary Technologies in Knowledge-Based Management of Water Resources: Perspectives from South Asian Case Studies, in Higgitt D. (Ed.), Perspectives on Environmental Management and Technology in Asian River Basins, Springer, Dordrecht, 45-67.
Bergek A., Jacobsson S., Carlsson B., Lindmark S. & Rickne A. (2008), Analyzing the functional dynamics of technological innovation systems: A scheme of analysis, Research Policy, 37, 407‐429.
Bijker W.E. (1995), Of Bicycles, Bakelites and Bulbs: Towards a Theory of Sociotechnical Change, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA/London, England
Bijker W.E., Hughes T.P., Pinch T.J. (Eds.) (1987), The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Bink M.L., Marsh R.L. (2000), Cognitive regularities in creative activity, Review of General Psychology, 4, 59-78.
Binswanger H.P. and Ruttan V.W. (1978), Induced Innovation: Technology, Institutions, and Development, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.
Borri D., Celmins V., De Lucia C., Sechi G. (2009), Social capital as knowledge facilitator: Evidence from Latvia, 3rd Central European Conference in Regional Science – CERS, 2009, Košice, Slovak Republic.
Borri D., Grassini L., Starkl M. (2009), Technological innovations and decision making changes in the water sector: Experiences from India, in Messerschmid C., El-Jazairi L., Khatib I., Al Haj Daoud A. (Eds.), Water: Values & Rights, Palestine Academy for Science and Technology, Palestine, 577-590.
Breschi S., Malerba F. (1997), Sectoral innovation systems: technological regimes, Schumpeterian dynamics, and spatial boundaries, in Edquist C. (ed.), Systems of Innovation: Technologies, Institutions and Organizations, Pinter, London/Washington, 130-156.
Brodt S.B. (2001), A systems perspective on the conservation and erosion of indigenous agricultural knowledge in central India, Human Ecology, 29, 99-120.
Brodt S.B. (2003), Beyond the local/global divide: knowledge for tree management in Madhya Pradesh, in Sivaramakrishnan K, Agrawal A (eds.) Regional modernities. The cultural politics of development in India, Stanford University Press, Standford, CA, 338-358.
Carlsson B., Stankiewicz R. (1991), On the nature, function and composition of technological systems, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 1(2), 93-118.
Castro J.E. (2006), Power and Citizenship. Social Struggle in the Basin of Mexico, Palgrave-Macmillan, New York.
Chomsky N. (1957), Syntactic Structures, Mouton, The Hague.
Chomsky N. (1968), Language and Mind, Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York.
Damasio A.R. (2005), Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, Penguin, London.
Di Maggio P.J. and Powell W.W. (1991), Introduction, in Powell W.W. and Di Maggio P.J. (eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1-34.
DiMaggio P.J. (1997), Culture and cognition, Annual Review of Sociology, 23, 263–287.
Dosi G. (1982), Technological paradigms and technological trajectories: a suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change, Research Policy, 6,147-162.
Elzen B., Geels F.W., and Green K. (eds.) (2004), System Innovation and the Transition to Sustainability: Theory, Evidence and Policy, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
Escobar A. (1996), “Constructing nature: elements for a post-structural political ecology”, in Peet R., Watts M. (eds.), Liberation ecologies. Environment, development, social movements, Routledge, London, pp. 46-68.
Fagin R., Halpern J., Moses Y., Vardi M. (1995), Reasoning about Knowledge, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Farla J., Markard J., Raven R., Coenen L. (2012) Sustainability transitions in the making: A closer look at actors, strategies and resources, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 79, 991-998.
Friedmann J. (1987), Planning in the Public Domain: From Knowledge to Action, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Gartner W.B. (1988), ‘Who is an entrepreneur’ is the wrong question, American Journal of Small Business, 12 (4), 11-32.
Garud R., Karnøe P. (2003), Bricolage versus breakthrough: distributed and embedded agency in technology entrepreneurship, Research Policy, 32, 277-300.
Geels F.W. (2004), From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems. Insights about dynamics and change from sociology and institutional theory, Research Policy, 33 (6/7), 897-920.
Geels F.W., Hekkert M.P. and Jacobsson S. (2008), The dynamics of sustainable innovation journeys, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 20 (5), 521–536.
Geels F.W., Schot J. (2010), The dynamics of socio-technical transitions – a socio-technical perspective, in Grin J., Rotmans J., Schot J. (eds.) Transitions to Sustainable Development, Routledge, London, 9-101.
Geels F.W. (2002), Technological transitions as evolutionary reconfiguration processes: a multi level perspective and a case study, Research Policy, 31, 1257-1274.
Goffmman E. (1974), Frame analysis: an essay on the organization of experience, Harper & Row, New York.
Grassini L. (2003), Spazi di interazione tra locale e globale: Pianificazione e pratiche di gestione delle risorse idriche in India [Interactions between Local and Global: Water resources planning and management practices in India], unpublished PhD thesis, University La Sapienza, Rome.
Grassini L. (2011), Buone prassi per chi? Politiche di sviluppo e pratiche interpretative in India, Alinea, Firenze.
Grassini L. (2013), “Gestione delle risorse idriche e sviluppo territoriale. Percorsi di innovazione tra modernità e tradizione”, Planum. The Journal of Urbanism, 27(2).
Grassini L. (forthcoming), Water resources management and territorial development: Technological changes in Apulia during the post-unification period, Plurimondi.
Griliches Z. (1984), R&D, Patents and Productivity, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.
Hekkert M.P., Suurs R.A.A., Negro S.O., Kuhlmann S., Smits R.E.H.M. (2007), Functions of innovation systems: A new approach for analyzing technological change, Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 74, 413-432.
Hendry C., Harborne P. (2011), Changing the view of wind power development: More than ‘bricolage’, Research Policy, 40 (5), 778-789.
Hicks J. (1932), The Theory of Wages, Macmillan & Co, London.
Hofstadter D.R. (1995), Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, Basic Books, New York.
Hughes T.P. (1987), The evolution of large technological systems, in Bijker W., Hughes T.P., Pinch T (eds.), The social construction of technological systems, MIT Press, Cambridge/MA, 51-82.
Kamp L.M., Smits R.E.H.M., Andriesse C.D. (2004), Notions on learning applied to wind turbine development in the Netherlands and Denmark, Energy Policy, 32, 1625-1637.
Kaplan S., Tripsas M. (2008), Thinking about technology: applying a cognitive lens to technical change, Research Policy, 37, 790-805.
Kemp R. (1994), Technology and the transition to environmental sustainability: the problem of technological regime shifts, Futures, 26, 1023-1046.
Kemp R., Schot J., Hoogma R. (1998), Regime shifts to sustainability through process of niche formation: the approach of strategic niche management, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 10 (2), 175-195.
Kubursi A., Borri D., Grassini L. (2011), In Praise of Traditional Technologies, Plurimondi, An International forum for research and debate on human settlements, special issue on Antinomos: Dilemmas in water supply and sanitation technologies, IV (8), 21-50.
Kuhn T. (1962), The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago University Press, Chicago.
Mansfield, E. (1968), Industrial Research and Technological Innovation, Norton, New York.
March J.G. and Simon H.A. (1958), Organizations, Wiley, New York.
Masella L. (1995), Acquedotto Pugliese. Intervento Pubblico e Modernizzazione del Mezzogiorno [Apulian Aqueduct. Public Policies and Modernization of the Mezzzogiorno], FrancoAngeli, Milano.
McCully P. (1996), Silenced rivers: The ecology and politics of large dams, Zed Books, London.
McGraw G., Hofstadter D.R. (1993), Letter spirit: An architecture for creativity in a microdomain, in Torasso P. (ed.), Advances in artificial intelligence: Third Congress of the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence, AI*IA '93, Springer, Berlin.
Minsky M.L. (1961), Steps toward artificial intelligence, Proceedings IRE, 49, 8-29.
Minsky M.L. (1967), Computation: Finite and Infinite Machines, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Negro S., Hekkert M.P. (2008), Explaining the success of emerging technologies by innovation system functioning: The case of biomass digestion in Germany, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 20 (4), 465-482.
Nelson R.R., Winter S.G. (1977), In search of useful theory of innovation, Research Policy, 6 (1), 36-76.
Nelson R.R., Winter S.G. (1982), An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Newell A., Simon H.A. (1972), Human Problem Solving, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Nightingale P. (1998), A cognitive model of innovation, Research Policy, 27 (7), 689-709.
Nozick R. (1993), The Nature of Rationality, Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Orlikowski W.J., Gash D.C. (1994), Technological frames: Making sense of Information Technology in Organizations, ACM Transactions on Information Systems, 2 (2), 174-207.
Petrignani A. (1978), Tecnologie dell’Architettura [Technologies of Architecture], DeAgostini/Gorlich, Padova.
Polanyi M. (1967), The Tacit Dimension, Kegan Paul, Routledge, London.
Postel S.L. (2000), Entering an era of water scarcity: The challenges ahead, Ecological Applications, 10 (4), 941-948.
Raven R.P.J.M., Geels F.W. (2010), Socio-cognitive evolution in niche development: Comparative analysis of biogas development in Denmark and the Netherlands (1973-2004), Technovation, 30 (2), 87-99.
Rip A., Kemp R. (1998), Technological Change, in Rayner S. and Malone E.L. (eds.), Human choice and climate change. Resources and technology, Battelle Press, Columbus, 327‐399.
Rosenberg N. (1982), Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Rostow W.W. (1960), The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Schank R.C. (1980), Language and memory, Cognitive Science, 4, 243-284.
Schank R.C. (1982), Dynamic Memory, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Schank R.C. (1999), Dynamic Memory Revisited, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Scherer F. (1986), Innovation and Growth, Schumpeterian Perspectives, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Schmookler J. (1966), Invention and Economic Growth, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Schön D (1983), The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action, Temple Smith, London.
Schumpeter J.A. (1934), The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest and the Business Cycle, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick and London.
Schumpeter J.A. (1942), Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Harper, New York.
Severino E. (1988), Il Destino della Tecnica [Technique and Destiny], Rizzoli, Milano.
Shannon C.E. and McCarthy J. (1956) (eds.), Automata Studies, Annals of Mathematics Studies, 34, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Shiva V. (2001), Water Wars. Privatisation, Pollution and Profit, Pluto Press, London.
Simon H.A. (1969), The Sciences of the Artificial, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Simon H.A., Newell A., Shaw J.C. (1958), Elements of a theory of human problem solving, Psycological Review, 65, 151-166.
Smith A., Jan-Peter Voβ J.-P. and Grin J., (2010), Innovation studies and sustainability transitions: The allure of a multi-level perspective and its challenges, Research Policy, 39 (4), 435-448
Solow R.M. (1957), Technical change and the aggregate production function, Review of Economics and Statistics, 39, 312-320.
Torregrosa M.L., Kloster K., Torres B., Vera J. (2010), Mexico: Socio-cultural assessment of technology appropriation, in Borri D. and Grassini L. (ed.), Evaluation Report on Indigenous Technologies, Report of the EC FP6 project ANTINOMOS “A Knowledge Network for Solving Real-Life Water Problems in Developing Countries: Bridging Contrasts”, 19-54.
Tversky A., Kahneman D. (1981), The framing of decisions and the psycology of choice, Science, 211 (4481), 453-458.
Unruh G.C. (2000), Understanding carbon lock-in, Energy Policy, 28, 817-30.
van den Bergh J.C.J.M., Gowdy J.M. (2000), Evolutionary theories in environmental and resource economics: approaches and applications, Environmental and Resource Economics, 17 (1), 37-57
Viterbo M. (1954), La Puglia e il suo Acquedotto [Apulia and its aqueduct], Laterza, Bari.
Voβ J.-P., Smith A., Grin J. (2009), Designing long-term policy: rethinking transition management, Policy Sciences, 42 (4), 275-302.
Walker W. (2000), Entrapment in large technology systems: institutional commitments and power relations, Research Policy, 29 (7/8), 833-846.
Walsh J.P. (1995), Managerial and organizational cognition: notes from a trip down memory lane, Organization Science, 6 (3), 280-321.
Weick K.E. (1995), Sense Making in Organizations, Sage, London.
Weisberg R.W. (1993), Creativity: Beyond the Myth of Genius, W.H. Freeman & Company, New York.
Wiener N. (1948), Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Copyright (c) 2014 Tema. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish in this journal agree to the following:1. Authors retain the rights to their work and give in to the journal the right of first publication of the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License - Attribution that allows others to share the work indicating the authorship and the initial publication in this journal.
2. Authors can adhere to other agreements of non-exclusive license for the distribution of the published version of the work (ex. To deposit it in an institutional repository or to publish it in a monography), provided to indicate that the document was first published in this journal.
3. Authors can distribute their work online (ex. In institutional repositories or in their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges and it can increase the quotations of the published work (See The Effect of Open Access)