Practitioners of sustainable innovation often find themselves disadvantaged compared to innovators working in established or more conventional markets. This can be particularly marked for grassroots innovators. One stream of research in sustainable innovation emphasises the significance of ‘spaces’ where sustainability innovators are less exposed to disadvantages. In this paper, Adrian Smith and Rob Raven consider how these spaces are constructed and how they operate – the ways they shield, nurture and empower innovations for sustainability. The paper develops ideas about sustainability ‘niches’ that we are drawing upon (and challenging) in our research on grassroots innovation.
Smith, A. and R. Raven (2012) What is protective space? Reconsidering niches in transitions to sustainability. Research Policy, 41: 1025-1036.