From leaders to majority: a frontrunner paradox in built-environment climate governance experimentation

Jeroen van der Heijden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper seeks to better understand the possible paradox of frontrunners in experimental climate governance. This paradox refers to the situation where frontrunners are required to push boundaries in terms of developing governance innovations and to experiment with these, but where, at the same time, a too strong focus on frontrunners may result in a situation where lessons from these experiments and the innovations developed do not resonate with the majority. In such a situation, an innovation may not be capable of being scaled up or of being transferred to another context. This paper draws lessons from a series of nine experimental and innovative governance instruments for low-carbon building development and transformation in Australia. It points out that for these instruments the frontrunners paradox provides a partial explanation as to why they have not yet been able to scale up from a small group of industry leaders to the large majority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1401
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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