This paper uses a ’systems of innovation’ approach, defining ’avenues’ of innovation, to explore factors that promote or inhibit innovation. The research is based on in‐depth interviews with 10 leading figures in Flood Risk Management (FRM) in the United Kingdom and describes the interactions and iterations involved. They aim also to add to the literature on innovation systems, providing a case study of a complex field previously unexplored in this regard.
The authors conclude that in terms of practice the encouragement of champions should be enhanced, risk cultures require concerted attention to minimise risk aversion, learning should be facilitated, and innovation scaled up to maximise its effectiveness. Detailed innovation‐encouraging processes here need to be better understood and FRM policies and practices adjusted accordingly.