Deep Transitions is an innovative interdisciplinary research project that strives to understand how the unsustainable systems our societies are built on emerged, and how they can be unmade. The project consists of two phases: Deep Transitions History and Deep Transitions Futures. It combines an unprecedented historical analysis of how fundamental changes unfolded in the past with looking into the future to help redirect those crucial drivers of change into a sustainable direction. Hence, Deep Transitions learns from the past to shape the future.
Deep Transitions History uncovered the rules, actors, values and external influences that have accelerated what we call the First Deep Transition – the transition that led to industrial modernity, beginning with the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. Through untangling the very foundations of industrial societies, Deep Transitions History diagnosed the ills of modernity from a socio-technical systems perspective and opened the doors to rethinking them, a key step towards addressing the great challenges of our time, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and growing inequality.
Deep Transitions Futures, the current phase of the project, explores the Second Deep Transition – a fundamental re-ordering of the First Deep Transition in response to the problems created by modernisation. Deep Transitions Futures uses the findings of Deep Transitions History to explore a set of future scenarios that illustrate the transformations needed to combat the great challenges of our time. These scenarios are created and debated by the Deep Transitions Futures Project Team, made up of members of the sustainability transitions research community, and a Global Investors Panel, made up of thought-leaders from the private and public investment sector. Together, they strive to develop a new signature investment strategy for transformation, termed ‘Transformative Investment’, which places sustainability and socio-technical system change front and center.