Theories of sustainability transitions aim to explain the processes, pathways and actors that are involved in transformations in technologies and practices. Whilst there is a growing body of research developing theoretical understandings, there has been less documented on how theories are utilised and applied by practitioners themselves.
This chapter reports on a case study that investigated whether provision of targeted information on theories of sustainability transitions could strengthen organisational strategic planning. If planning is informed by transition theories, would this assist and strengthen organisational visioning, ambition and confidence? The research focuses on Moreland Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL), a community-based not-for-profit organisation working on sustainable energy and climate change action in Melbourne, Australia. During 2014–2015, MEFL developed a new strategic plan. As part of this process, theories of sustainability transitions were presented to the organisation’s Board and staff, to support the strategic planning and to investigate the theories’ roles in the planning process.
It was found that inclusion of the sustainability transitions theoretical framework led to the organisation explicitly defining its shared ‘model of change’, reinforcing the organisation’s conceptualisation of its role as an ‘intermediary’ between grassroots and governments. The process demonstrated the potential impact of research-practice partnerships in strategic planning. However the findings also highlighted the continuing challenges of connecting research and practice.