Cookbook for systems change: Nordic innovation strategies for sustainable food systems
2 min read

Cookbook for systems change: Nordic innovation strategies for sustainable food systems

The “Cookbook for systems change: Nordic innovation strategies for sustainable food systems” offers methodologies, templates and case studies—or recipes—to help regional and national European governments transform food systems, and features EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration concept which draws upon a decade’s worth of work on climate change mitigation and adaptation, community and innovation ecosystem development, and systems change. Funded by EIT Climate-KIC as part of its Resilient Food Systems and Diets Deep Demonstration, the book was produced in partnership with EAT, the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

We can and must work with the strategic innovation of food systems to solve some of our greatest societal challenges. This is the fundamental proposal of the book, “Cookbook for systems change: Nordic innovation strategies for sustainable food systems.” In essence, this cookbook of strategies  demonstrates the role that a strong public innovation system can play in the drive towards sustainable food systems,  proposing a method for deliberate food system transformation—a mission-based approach—that can support people, the planet and society. But while mission-led strategies have received increasing attention in policy circles at national and EU levels, they are still rather loosely defined and there are very few examples of their implementation. Moving from intent to action has been slow as there is no existing playbook (or cookbook) to go by—resulting in mission-thinking being often overlooked in new policy proposals.

This strategy cookbook will provide the ingredients—templates for developing interventions, guides for how to get started and examples of cross-cutting projects—that you can use to create your own recipes for change. To accomplish this, we offer a new, emergent way of working with complex and dynamic systems. The cookbook is intended primarily for national and regional innovation agencies, as governments have both a mandate and more authority than any other entity to lead the change needed to achieve sustainable food systems. However, because innovation ecosystems include a variety of different actors, this strategy cookbook also provides valuable insights into the roles that entrepreneurs, civil society and research organisations can play in cultivating change from the bottom-up. Drawing inspiration from a Nordic innovation alliance, this cookbook suggests that the Nordic countries’ most important global contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals may not be a specific technology, business model or policy innovation. Rather, this contribution can come in the form of demonstrating how a strong public innovation ecosystem is the missing link to overcome the complex societal challenges defining our times.

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