What is a key idea for a system innovation?

Key ideas for system innovations are ideas for solving persistent problems. They overcome ‘perverse' links and contain new links. Perverse links are connections between developments that are in themselves regarded as positive but that have negative side-effects that overshadow the positive effects.

Examples of key ideas for system innovations are:

  • The greenhouse as a source of energy, which breaks the perverse link between greenhouse horticulture and energy consumption in the sense that the greenhouse becomes a supplier of energy
  • Farm hubs, which decouple the upscaling of agriculture and the deterioration of the environment and create a new link with landscape management
  • Key ideas for system innovation in water management that combine the use of space with water storage. With these ideas, new methods of using space no longer automatically curtail the possibilities for water storage.