Emergent transformation games: exploring social innovation agency and activation through the case of the Belgian electricity blackout threat
Bonno Pel, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Département Géosciences, Environnement et Société, Centre d'Etudes du Développement Durable
Grégoire Wallenborn, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Département Géosciences, Environnement et Société, Centre d'Etudes du Développement Durable
Tom Bauler, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Département Géosciences, Environnement et Société, Centre d'Etudes du Développement Durable
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The persistence of current societal problems has given rise to a quest for transformative social innovations. As social innovation actors seek to become change makers, it has been suggested that they need to play into impactful macrodevelopments or “game-changers”. Here, we aim to deepen the understanding of the social innovation agency in these transformation games. We analyze assumptions about the game metaphor, invoking insights from actor-network theory. The very emergence of transformation games is identified as a crucial but easily overlooked issue. As explored through the recent electricity blackout threat in Belgium, some current transformation games are populated with largely passive players. This illustrative case demonstrates that socially innovative agency cannot be presupposed. In some transformation games, the crucial game-changing effect is to start the game by activating the players.
actor network theory; electricity grid; enrolment; game-changers; social innovation; transformation
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