Project on participation in innovation processes

How can technical innovations benefit from public participation? ITAS looks for answers in the BMBF-funded project "PartInno".
The PartInno project examines possibilities and limits of participatory processes (photo: BMBF/André Wagenzick CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Increased effectiveness and legitimacy – actors from politics and industry expect a lot from public participation in innovation processes. However, their expectations of the possible "participation gains" from such methods often remain unsatisfied or are disappointed. A major reason for this imbalance often is that neither the conditions of applicability nor the objectives of participation are sufficiently defined.

The goal of the project "Participation and innovation phases (PartInno): Functional gains from public participation at different stages of innovation" is to systematically explore the possibilities – and limits – of methods of public participation at various stages of innovation development. The BMBF is funding the research project for two years.

So far, there are no studies investigating the use and applicability of specific participatory methods in relation to innovation phases in a systematic context. The researchers at ITAS will analytically differentiate participation gains. Particular attention will be paid to issues of value (e.g. resolution of value conflicts), issues of knowledge (e.g. knowledge of the needs of consumers), and issues of social integration (e.g. conditions for the acceptance of innovation) as well as the interaction of these different dimensions. The findings will eventually be processed in a model so that they can serve as a decision-making tool for designing participatory processes. (29.09.2015)

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