The hydrogen community finds itself, after a 10-year phase of hype, in a phase of disappointment in which it proves hard to acquire, especially private, funding for R&D. Members of this community feel that they now suffer the effects of their earlier overpromising of hydrogen technologies' potential. In this paper I ask whether this community could have managed the expectations about hydrogen better and what the electric vehicle community can learn from this, given that the electric vehicle is now in a phase of high expectations. In the literature on sustainability transitions, much emphasis is put on the creation of a shared, and hence, guiding vision. Such a vision may include ideas about sustainability, what is and what is not sustainable, and about the appropriate and promising trajectories to follow. That is, specific technological trajectories may lead to more sustainable modes of electricity production, transportation, etc. With respect to such technological options, technological expectations are key to their innovation trajectories: high expectations about an option help to attract funding and actors for its further development. All too high expectations, on the other hand, may be detrimental to the innovation trajectory on the long term when the actual results do not meet the high expectations: hypedisappointment dynamics. To mitigate these effects, some form of expectations managements may be effective. One of the problems of such `expectations management' is that the supposed benefits are mostly collective (to the entire community), while the initial risks are mostly individual (to the actors). In the paper this problem is elaborated along the lines of the `tragedy of the commons' dilemma and illustrated with examples from the recent hydrogen hype. Furthermore it is shown that the current interest for electric vehicles shows signs of hype-like expectations and that the individual actors, mostly car manufacturers and utilities, fail to manage expectations as well. The supposed negative effects of hype and disappointment do not only affect the technological communities themselves, but also their sponsors. I finally argue that while it is almost impossible for the so-called enacting community to manage expectations, the selecting actors (effectively the sponsors) to manage these expectations, or promises, themselves.
|Publikationsstatus||Veröffentlicht - 2011|
|Veranstaltung||2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions. Diversity, plurality and change: breaking new grounds in sustainability transition research - |
Dauer: 13 Juni 2011 → 15 Juni 2011
|Konferenz||2nd International Conference on Sustainability Transitions. Diversity, plurality and change: breaking new grounds in sustainability transition research|
|Zeitraum||13/06/11 → 15/06/11|
- Ehemaliges Research Field - Innovation Systems and Policy