Does my experiment need protection?

Transition projects encounter more obstacles in the structure (the culture, common knowledge, rules, routines, organisational boundaries or infrastructure) than classical innovation projects. This is connected with their radical nature. If the project is nevertheless to have a good chance of success, you can organise niche protection.

Positive conditions

Positive niche conditions might be:

  • A favourable location
  • Good financial conditions: funds, subsidies, temporary exemption from tax or from requirements for the Return on Investment (ROI)
  • A suitable social network
  • Explicit commitment from the management
  • Temporary shielding from competition
  • A special organisational unit
  • A temporary exemption from formal rules (‘status aparte')
  • Special accounting mechanisms.

Impression of discrepancies

You must in any case be aware of how the project differs from current practice. Is it in the technology, the market, culture, infrastructure, organisation, knowledge or other dimensions? This information will help you to identify potentially favourable niche conditions.

Adapt to changes

The new practice will ultimately have to survive without niche protection. You should therefore learn about the regular environment in order to form a clear impression of what that will require. Also explore current changes that you could join up with. What structural changes are underway? What long-term trends are affecting existing structures and practices? See also the question 'What external information do I require?" and the questions and answers in the cluster 'Societal Anchoring'.