Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Validating the 'seven functions' model of technological innovations systems theory with industry stakeholders: a review from UK offshore renewables.

Aldersey-Williams, John; Strachan, Peter A.; Broadbent, Ian D.


John Aldersey-Williams

Ian D. Broadbent


Technological Innovation Systems theory, and its 'functions' framework, have demonstrated their value as tools for exploring socio-technological transitions. Although the 'seven functions' model has demonstrated its academic value across a vast literature, there have been few attempts to explore the model through the lens of industry stakeholder opinion. We believe that involving a relevant stakeholder group offers the potential for validating this approach, and even potentially enriching it. This research aims to address that shortfall. In 32 interviews with senior participants in the UK offshore wind, tidal stream and wave sectors and associated supply chain, policy makers, support organisations and other stakeholders, the validity of the seven well-established 'Hekkert' functions was tested. The research found that the interviewees confirmed that all seven functions were necessary in characterising the emergence of the focal technologies, and analysis of the interviews allowed the definition and scope of each function to be enriched. The research also found that an additional function—defined as 'Demonstrating Value'—was helpful in providing a more complete description of technology emergence. This function is defined and appropriate metrics for it are discussed. The authors suggest that this proposed enrichment of the 'functions' model may provide a greater understanding of socio-technological transitions in the face of volatile external contextual factors, whose importance the current COVID pandemic has made all too obvious.


ALDERSEY-WILLIAMS, J., STRACHAN, P.A. and BROADBENT, I.D. 2020. Validating the 'seven Functions' model of technological innovations systems theory with industry stakeholders: a review from UK offshore renewables. Energies [online], 13(24), article ID 6673. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 17, 2020
Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 17, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 17, 2020
Journal Energies
Electronic ISSN 1996-1073
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 24
Article Number 6673
Keywords Functions; TIS; Innovation systems; Validity
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations