17. The use of participatory methods for transformative innovation engagements

Convenors: Alejandra Boni and Bipashyee Ghosh.

Session type: Full paper session.

The EU- SPRI 2021 Conference touches upon a relevant issue: how science and innovation community can address sustainable and just transitions. Transformative Innovation Policies (TIPs) (Schot and Steinmueller, 2018) propose that addressing the key challenges currently facing our societies requires profound changes in current socio-technical systems (Weber and Rohracher, 2012, Daniels et al, 2020; Rogge et al, 2020). To leverage such ‘socio-technical transitions’ calls for a broad mix of research and innovation policies, with particular attention being paid to societal policy engagements. These are demonstration projects but focused on societal and/or ecological challenges and involving many actors, including social, grassroots and civil society innovators usually marginalized in traditional policy-making processes. These kinds of projects require participation to promote inclusive processes and debates about the normative aim of the policy-making: defining and deciding which directions are desirable for heterogenous societies. Such a policy-making is a political process.

The experimental policy engagements require enabling spaces to flourish. These spaces are also vital to create capacities and competences among practitioners, which are often absent in traditional policy intervention contexts. For example, spaces where academic and policy maekrs can engage in a two-way dialogue with grassroots innovators and allow navigating conflicting views in a project or program; or develop capabilities to test an idea in an exploratory and systemc way or promote second order learning among all participants. These are all envisioned to be part of the new experimental policy engagement process. Therefore, the development of appropriate tools that enable these spaces and support capabilities and learning is essential.

In this track, we propose to invite scholarly inputs on various participatory methods that can support capacity development, reflexive learning, experimental policy engagements for transformative innovation. Methods such reflexives diaries, collaborative mapping, learning histories, among others.

We ask for contributions for full papers and for participation in a round table, where we would like to explore the potential of participatory methods to foster these kinds of engagements, highlighting both strengths and barriers of the use of these methods in different contexts.

Potential contributors interested can be academic and policy makers involved in different policy engagements. Contributions, either in form of academic papers or from practical experience can illustrate how different participatory methods and tools can be useful for designing, implementation or evaluation of policies in a way that promote learning and reflexivity among participants. Such an exploration will benefit understanding the relationship between science and innovation in policymaking, with clear consideration for different social and ecological contexts.



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De Vicente Lopez, Javier and Matti, Cristian (2016). Visual toolbox for system innovation. A resource book for practitioners to map, analyse and facilitate sustainability transitions. Transition Hub Series. EIT Climate KIC, Brussels 2016. ISBN 978-2-9601874-1-0 

Hogan, C., (2005)Practical facilitation: A toolkit of techniques. Kogan Page Publishers 

Schot, J. and Steinmueller, W. E. (2018). ‘Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change’, Research Policy, 47(9), pp. 1554-1567.