Key Note Speakers

The program contains two key note speeches given by Prof. dr. Derk Loorbach from Erasmus University Rotterdam / DRIFT and Prof. Howard E. Aldrich from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 


Key Note by Prof. dr. Derk LoorbachDerk Loorbach

Converging Interests and Actors in the Energy Transition: 
The TRAPESES Project


In this presentation, Prof. Loorbach will present the analytical understanding of the energy transition as a reconfiguration of interests and actors as it is developed in the TRAPESES project. This NWO funded project explores how so called niche- and regime-actors with specific characteristics are working on the energy transition in practice. This perspective moves beyond the traditional oppositions between fossil and renewable, incumbent and start-up, as there are often presented in transition research and energy policy practice. This perspective, as will be argued, has new implications for the governance of the energy transition and will provide a critical perspective on how so fare Dutch energy transition policies have been implemented.


Derk Loorbach is director of DRIFT and Professor of Socio-economic Transitions at the Faculty of Social Science, both at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Derk is one of the founders of the transition management approach as new form of governance for sustainable development. He has over one hundred publications in this area and has been involved as an action researcher in numerous transition processes with government, business, civil society and science. He is a frequently invited keynote speaker in and outside Europe.

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Key Note by Prof. Howard E. AldrichHoward Aldrich

Learning and Legitimacy Problems Facing New Industries:
a Neoinstitutional Perspective​


Two problems confront nascent entrepreneurs in new populations, such as in the alternative energy industry, e.g. wind, solar, and biogas. First, they must discover or create effective routines and competencies under conditions of ignorance and uncertainty. When the number of organizations in a new population is small, organizational members must learn new roles without the benefit of role models. Second, new organizations must establish ties with an environment that might not understand or acknowledge their existence. The existing institutional arrangements involving local and national governments and regulatory bodies were designed for systems that are undergoing fundamental transformation and thus new arrangements must be created. Prof. Aldrich has separated these problems into learning and legitimacy issues. After presenting an overview of the two issues, he examines the strategies pursued by founders as they cope with learning and legitimacy problems and opportunities. He highlights the knowledge involved in founding new organizations and emphasize the agents involved: entrepreneurs, industry associations, and other collective actors. Learning is primarily treated as a cognitive and technical issue and examined together with cognitive legitimacy. A second dimension of legitimacy – sociopolitical – is broken into two sub-categories of moral/value-based and regulatory. Using new institutional theory from organizational sociology, Prof. Aldrich offers a general analytic framework that emphasizes a multilevel model of collective action.


Howard E. Aldrich is Kenan Professor of Sociology; Adjunct Professor of Business at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Faculty Research Associate at the Department of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; and Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University. He is a Faculty Fellow of the Center for Study of Economy and Society, Cornell University. His main research interests are entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial team formation, gender and entrepreneurship, and evolutionary theory.

Among his over 200 publications are seven books, one of which -- Organizations Evolving – – won two national awards: the George R Terry Award from the Academy of Management for the best management book published in 1999, and the Max Weber Award of the American Sociological Association for the best book published in organizations and occupations. The Journal of Business Venturing and the University of Maryland Business School held a national conference to honor his contributions to research on Evolutionary Approaches to Entrepreneurship in 2002.

In 2000, he won the Global Entrepreneurship Researcher of the Year Award from the Swedish Foundation of Small Business Research, and in the same year, won the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division, of the Academy of Management. In 2013, he received the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference Lifetime Membership Award, in Lyon, France. In 2014, he received an honorary doctoral degree from Mid-Sweden University, Ostersund, Sweden. 

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