International Development, Community, and Environment
Social Learning Through Technological Inventions in Low-Impact Individual Mobility: The Cases of Sparrow and Gizmo
This paper examines two cases of technological innovation in individual mobility that are driven by purely entrepreneurial spirit. They entail the introduction into commerce of innovative, low-impact vehicles in the US: Sparrow, produced by Corbin Motors, and Gizmo, produced by NEVCO. Both are three-wheeled electric vehicles with seating capacity for one adult. They were first produced as experiments and then moved to a small commercial scale. Drawing on a larger set of actors could be accomplished by engaging: local governments concerned with the matters of transportation, technology, energy and spatial planning; citizen groups; universities; NGOs; and various businesses. These stakeholders should be encouraged to study the fate of Gizmo and Sparrow in the marketplace, adopt the vehicles on an experimental basis, and to include them as well as other such mobility solutions into long-term planning. Designing a programme for mapping out and interpreting the learning processes would also be constructive. A promising approach would be to introduce a system for obtaining systematic feedback from the purchasers of the vehicles and other stakeholders. Notably, the above changes would also facilitate the market diffusion of these innovations. In short, the business and social agendas would reinforce each other.
Greener Management International
alternative vehicles, bounded socio-technical experiments, Gizmo, mobility services, personal mobility, Sparrow, technological regimes
Brown, Halina Szejnwald and Carbone, Catherine, "Social Learning Through Technological Inventions in Low-Impact Individual Mobility: The Cases of Sparrow and Gizmo" (2004). International Development, Community, and Environment. 421.