Research beyond growth: Technologies for Degrowth

In this series on “Research beyond growth” we feature scholarly articles and other research results focusing beyond the traditional growth- and efficiency-orientation in management science. We focus today on Prof. Peter Wells from Cardiff Business School in the UK and his research on the connection of technology and Degrowth.

There is an emergent understanding that humanity has precipitated an ‘Anthropocene’ such that we are now operating in a reduced space for humanity in which urgent action is required. This case study paper links degrowth, technological innovation, business model innovation and corporate governance. The arguments are illustrated with the case of an embryonic vehicle and mobility business called Riversimple. The paper shows that radical technology innovations in the vehicle itself are achieved by underlying principles that focus on mass decompounding, powertrain de-coupling, whole system design, and low-volume production systems. The characteristics of the technologies are fundamental to, and in part derive from, the business model adopted by the case, and the governance structures designed to avoid the primacy usually afforded to returns to financial shareholders. While the case is embryonic, the paper argues that an important possible contribution is the ability to commence a disruptive transition to a degrowth future from within existing legal frameworks, social practices, cultural expectations and physical infrastructures. Read more >>

Wells, P. (2016). Degrowth and techno-business model innovation: The case of Riversimple. Journal of Cleaner Production.

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