Public participation in innovation processes is considered a key strategy for improving the effectiveness and legitimacy of innovations. However, the high expectations of such gains from participation often remain unsatisfied or are disappointed. Against this background, the project "PartInno" has set itself the goal to systematically explore applicability of methods for involving the public along typical stages of innovation processes (discourse, program definition, framing, project implementation) with respect to potential participation gains.
- Key variables (participation gains, stakeholder groups and procedural elements) in the implementation of participatory methods for issues of science and technology policy are identified based on relevant theoretical and empirical literature from innovation, science and participation research. On this basis, visible or reconstructable experiences are studied with regard to their dependence on innovation stages.
- In the second step, eight case studies are carried out. Two relevant participation projects per analytical innovation stage will be examined in more detail. The aim is to specify and systematize the theoretically developed success factors of participation.
- Finally, in the third step, the innovation stage-dependent conditions and possibilities of participation are modelled from the combination of analytical and conceptual considerations and the results of the case studies with regard to the practical design of participatory procedures. The model will allow not only to systematically capture but also to clearly present the structures of changing requirements that are placed on the involvement of the public at different stages of the innovation process.
In this way, a "decision compass" is being developed in order to assist the design of methods of participation of civil society actors, depending on the innovation stage. This "compass" is intended as a decision-making aid for the use of procedures for public participation in innovation processes.