Hybrid potato breeding in the Netherlands: A potentially disruptive innovation

An article that characterizes the diverging expectations about hybrid potato breeding in the Netherlands was published recently in the journal Futures by scientists Koen Beumer and Rosanne Edelenbosch.

The authors say that this potentially disruptive innovation for breeding new potato varieties has been subject to contested expectations, ranging from hybrid breeding amounting to nothing to it strongly upsetting the existing potato sector and bringing food security to developing countries.

Literature in the sociology of expectations has highlighted that expectations are key in shaping the future of this innovation, they say. In the case of hybrid potato breeding, these expectations are articulated in an unstructured setting, often within the walls of individual organizations. This makes an informed societal debate difficult.

To aid the governance of expectations in unstructured settings, their article develops a mapping framework for expectations.

Building on distinctions that emerged from the empirical material, stakeholders are positioned with respect to the expected impact of the innovation on the sector and on society.

“We found that stakeholders can be distributed along a clear curve that leads from low expectations for sector and society, to modest expectations for the sector and low expectations for society, to high expectations for both. This overview provides a basis for an informed societal debate and the articulation of socially robust expectations,” Beumer and Edelenbosch write.

Corresponding author Koen Beumer can be reached at Koen can share the full article with those interested – please send him an email in this regard.

More on this can be found here