Graham M Winch
July 23, 2022
Projects are both shaped by processes of socio-economic change and shape those processes of socio-economic change – an insight that guided much in Peter Morris’ career and contribution. In this paper, we address a growing concern of both Peter and the projects research community more generally with the grand challenges we all face, particularly achieving net zero. We therefore place project organizing research in the context of the four industrial revolutions and the Anthropocene over the last 250 years or so. In particular, we focus on the role of projects in sustainability transitions – that is the transition from one socio-technical regime to another such as from fossil fuels to renewables for electricity generation. On this basis, we suggest that the major projects of the third industrial revolution that Peter so comprehensively analysed may not be the most appropriate models for addressing the challenges of the fourth when projecting for sustainability transitions. We close by suggesting one potential additional approach.
Keywords: 4th industrial revolution; Anthropocene; sustainability transitions; major projects; electrification