Rethinking innovation and governance
Location VIP
Date and Start Time 01 September, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 3


  • Andrew Webster (University of York) email

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Short Abstract

Drawing on the deep and extensive work in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, this track provides an opportunity to rethink our understanding of innovation, its governance and future direction beyond conventional boundaries of S&T

Long Abstract

Drawing on the deep and extensive work in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, this track provides an opportunity to rethink our understanding of innovation, its governance and future direction beyond the conventional boundaries of S&T, and in doing so open up new areas of dialogue between STS and Innovation work. What is the relevance, utility and limitations of the concept 'innovation' in non-technology based sectors, and outside the private sector, that is, 'innovation' in services, in the creative sectors, in public services, in the third sector, and in social enterprises? What are the changing needs for innovation policy in our current world, the history of innovation policy and its deficiencies to deal with these needs, and how to develop policy and governance structures that are relevant. How do social values become incorporated into technology development and what values are excluded and why: can social 'good' survive the need for technologies to be economically competitive? How can STIS engage with work on civil societies and communities that is critical of contemporary hegemonies in addressing the challenges of the 21st century? Papers in the track will be javascript:%20editproposal_submit();considered for inclusion in an edited collection to be published by Routledge through the recently established AsSIST-UK professional association.

SESSIONS: 5/5/5 (Important! Keep the paper "Towards a typology of social innovation": one of the authors will register in August).

This track is closed to new paper proposals.


Towards a typology of social innovation

Authors: Effie Amanatidou (University of Manchester)  email
Rafael Popper (VTT / The University of Manchester)  email
Deborah Cox (The University of Manchester)  email

Short Abstract

Amidst the vagueness surrounding the definition, conceptualisation and interpretation of the concept of social innovation, the paper suggests a typology of social innovation. This is then refined through a systematic examination of cases of social innovations mapped under the EC funded CASI project.

Long Abstract

Social innovation has been intensely debated in academic and policy cycles in the last years, not least due to the shift of European research and innovation policies towards societal challenges. Equally, positioning social innovation in the arena of innovation conceptualisations has attracted significant attention. Howaldt et al. (2014) argue that the new paradigm of innovation calls for social innovation to be considered an independent field and going even further, Haxeltine, et al. (2013) attempt to develop a theory for transformative social innovation, while Hochgerner (2011) argues that all innovations are socially relevant, and suggests the notion of an extended paradigm of innovation.

This diversity of perspectives on what constitutes social innovation lends itself to a thorough examination of similarities and differences. This then leads to a typology of social innovations based on the role of society in the innovation process and social values underpinning this engagement. Thus, the focus of the paper lies at the heart of STS and the aim is to advance our understanding of the role of social aspects in the innovation process in a process of rethinking innovation beyond the conventional boundaries of S&T, which is exactly the focus of the track theme 'rethinking innovation and governance'.

The resulting typology is then refined through a systematic examination of cases of social innovations mapped under the EC funded CASI project ( A pool of 48 cases are studied in terms of their practices, players and outcomes, thus leading to a critical analysis of the typology developed.

Innovation with the Future: European experiments with reinventing the future

Author: Jim Dratwa (European Commission and Woodrow Wilson Center)  email

Short Abstract

Following the notion of 'innovation' in the field in the EU institutions, this paper scrutinises the ontology or modes of existence of the future, how the future is 'made in Europe'. The inquiry is conducted on four fronts: innovation policy; future studies; embedded practices; role of values.

Long Abstract

This paper scrutinises the ways in which the future is made on the terrain of the EU institutions, following in particular the mobilisation and shaping of the notion of 'innovation'.

It explores the relations of the European Union -of the European project- with the future, with the very undertaking of constructing futures. In doing so it brings together STS literature and Future studies. The inquiry is conducted on four fronts, thus scrutinising:

1) The explicit endeavour to elicit new strides and narratives for innovation and innovation policy (including in relation to social innovation; systems innovation; open innovation; and with the attendant rise of the innovation principle counterpointed with the precautionary principle).

2) The specific activities of a foresight and future studies nature in the EU institutions.

3) The developing and standardised practices of future-making integrated in the administrative and regulatory processes.

4) The role of values and of the institutionalisation of ethics.

The focus on this fourth 'values/ethics' dimension pertains to the evolving role it is given in governing innovation (norming or validating which social values, imaginaries and innovations should go along) but also to the openings it carries in terms of innovating governance (innovating or stabilising the forms and processes of governance performed in those institutions), indeed extending to the by-and-in-design dialectics and, in turn, through to the innovation of values and 'Europes' themselves.

Rethinking Innovation as a Political Process of Development

Authors: Smita Srinivas (The Open University)  email
Theodoros Papaioannou (The Open University)  email

Short Abstract

In this paper, we argue that the neo-institutionalist view of innovation as a value-neutral process requires closer attention. Can innovation be abstracted from its social and political bases? We answer by re-thinking innovation and governance as both historical and contextual processes.

Long Abstract

Since the reconstruction of Joseph Schumpeter's view of innovation as a primary driver of capitalist economic development and the subsequent formation of national innovation systems (NIS) theory in the early 1990s that can be described as neo-Schumpeterian policy tool (Lundvall, 1992; Nelson, 1990, 1992, 1993; Freeman, 1995; Freeman and Soete, 1997; Edquist and Johnson, 1997; Edquist, 1997), there has been a continuous attempt to analyse the emergence of new technological products and processes in institutional terms. However, much of this neo-institutionalism has positioned innovation as if it was a value-neutral process of supply and demand, taking place in a free market and having nothing to do with politics and the state. In this paper, we will argue that such value neutrality requires closer attention. The reason being that some neo-Schumpeterian thinkers do appear to acknowledge that capitalism itself is not a smooth and neutral process of socio-biological evolution but rather an uneven, value-bound and dynamic process of technological change. The relationship between the vital dynamism of such approach to technological change and the context of its power relations and value conflicts deserves further critical analysis. Under what conditions are systemic interactions between institutions and actors potentially universalisable? Can the theory of innovation be abstracted from its social and political bases? We aim to address these questions by re-thinking innovation and its governance as predominantly social and political processes which are both historical and contextual. In doing so, we will draw out implications for innovation policy and practice.

Innovation in Regenerative medicine: Promissory Identities, Values and tensions

Authors: John Gardner (University of York)  email
Ruchi Higham (University of York)  email

Short Abstract

This presentation explores innovation and governance within the emerging field of regenerative medicine.

Long Abstract

This presentation explores innovation and governance within the emerging field of regenerative medicine. Specifically, we explore how emerging RM technologies acquire technology identities; identities which reflect particular, sometimes conflicting values, and which consequently shape their future development trajectories. We focus primarily on the United Kingdom, where the government is actively facilitating the emergence of an RM industry. We illustrate that powerful actors such as the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (a State-mandated 'innovation accelerator agency') construct and consolidate promissory technology identities that enact prevalent beliefs regarding what constitutes 'innovation' and the importance of commercialisation. Meanwhile, gate-keeping governance actors such as Health Technology Appraisal Agencies construct alternative, less-optimistic identities that reflect a different set of values. These technology identities and the values they reflect are indicative of wider tensions and challenges within the field of regenerative medicine, and within new health bioeconomies more generally.

Misalignment and alignment in academic-industry collaboration and research policy

Authors: Alan Irwin (Copenhagen Business School)  email
Jane Bjørn Vedel (Copenhagen Business School)  email

Short Abstract

In this paper, we develop a framework for misalignment and alignment with particular reference to academic-industry collaboration. Building upon an extended qualitative study of seven companies, we argue that misalignment plays an important role with far-reaching implications for research policy.

Long Abstract

For several decades, the question of how to optimise interaction between academic research groups and industry has been a major concern for international politicians and policy makers. In this paper, we develop a framework for misalignment and alignment which can be used for understanding and accounting for the dynamics of academic-industry collaborations. Drawing upon an extensive qualitative study of one Danish pharmaceutical company and interviews with six further companies, we argue that misalignment (as well as alignment) plays an important role in academic-industry collaboration. Rather than representing a barrier to collaboration, misalignment at various points can serve as a driver to collaboration. This role has however largely been overlooked in research policy studies that have mainly viewed misalignment as a problem for resolution, and alignment - or 'bridge building' - between academia and industry as the key role for research policy. Our evidence also suggests that in successful collaborations academic and industry partners do not necessarily move from misalignment to alignment. Instead, several (mis)aligning relations are possible. Consequently, we suggest that, rather than merely 'bridging gaps', policy in this area has an important task in developing programmes that can incorporate and indeed positively value misalignment. For instance, this could involve the development of non-linear policy frameworks that are not based on a sequential, aligned distribution of roles between academia and industry but rather on programmes that allow misaligned forms of co-production.

Universities as spaces and places of social innovation

Authors: Jens Dorland (Aalborg University Copenhagen)  email
Michael Soegaard Joergensen (Aalborg University)  email

Short Abstract

Through case studies from Europe and Latin America, roles of universities as spaces and places of research and innovation in cooperation with civil society and communities are discussed. The analyses contribute to STIS theory about the role of universities in governance of science and technology

Long Abstract

The role of universities in research and innovation is one of the important topics in STIS with focus on social shaping of laboratory work, and more recently the role of social scientists in research within areas like nano and biotechnology. Parallel to this, different forms of governance of science and technology (including at universities) have developed and exist today in parallel: the deficit model (Public Understanding of Science), a dialogue and risk assessment model with focus groups, stakeholder dialogues, citizens juries etc., and an upstream participation model aiming at influencing research at an earlier state than in the risk assessment model.

Another field of STIS focuses on university research in cooperation with civil societies and communities where universities act as spaces and places of research. There is the action research field within the social area and the area of working environment. Another type of space for this type of research cooperation is science shops that emerged the 1970s. An important element of science shops are students carrying out projects as part of their curricula, based on requests to the science shop.

In the TRANSIT project (Transformative social innovation theory) two new types of spaces and places at universities for research with civil societies and communities, Fab Labs and labs for social innovation and sustainability (DESIS labs) have been analysed and compared with the fields of action research and science shops. The co-shaping of these new spaces/places and their local context in some countries in Europe and Latin America are analysed.

Can the Public Health Sector Innovate Contraception?

Author: Miriam Klemm (Technische Universität Berlin)  email

Short Abstract

The development of male contraceptive technologies is, if it happens at all, underfunded, inadequately advocated and relatively slow. This paper investigates the role of (international) public health agencies in innovating technologies of male fertility control.

Long Abstract

Since the 1970s long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for men have been undergoing research and development. The feasibility and contraceptive effectiveness of, for example, hormonal sperm suppression could be demonstrated in several transnational clinical trials. Yet, none of these products under development have hit the market. This is likely due to the lack of stable actors and institutions working on and supporting innovative methods of male fertility control.

The pharmaceutical industry is not engaged in the project. Companies doubt a demand for and a profit from potential male LARCs. International public sector agencies, in particular the WHO, set their sights on developing a safe LARC for men. In the end of the last century the WHO brought together international experts and created a global network of laboratories, research centres, and clinics to explore possibilities of male contraception (Oudshoorn 2003). Yet, the role of the public sector in medical research and development has been faced with a number of constraints. The public sector does not acquire the same resources as the industry, thus, development of male LARCs happens slowly in comparison to female contraceptive development. Furthermore, the international public health sector faces a dilemma of representation. Sexual and Reproductive Health is negotiated as women's health.

In the last decade, the WHO shifted its mandate from research and development of contraceptives to distributing existing technologies. Thus, the project of male contraceptive innovation is now left to a few national research agencies and philanthropic organisations. This study investigates the role of these public health agencies in developing male LARCs.

Innovative instruments for neglected vaccines: Public markets for private ventures

Author: Janice Graham (Dalhousie University)  email

Short Abstract

A series of ethnographic case studies are used to show how the definition of innovation is used for particular emerging health biotechnologies at particular times. A symmetrical approach is proposed to open regulatory governance to a parliament of evidence that recognizes the gaming of innovation.

Long Abstract

This paper considers innovation is politics by other means. Two separate Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEIC) were declared in less than two years. What was the intended purpose of this innovative international health instrument that appeared with Ebola virus disease and followed to zika? Where were resources deflected upon declaration of PHEIC? Each emergency originated in a poor region where social and economic inequities expose people to precarious lives where malnutrition, and the lack of clean water, sanitation, arable land, education and healthcare compromise their well being as violently as biological pathogens and vectors. Each was lurking for months if not years before declaration. In both cases, experimental innovative diagnostics, treatments and vaccines were on research lab shelves, rather than tested, approved and available. Just as populations were neglected without adequate (or any) health care system. From a series of ethnographic case studies, I follow how the definition of innovation is used for particular emerging health biotechnologies at particular times (and not others) across several continents. I consider the standardization of safety and efficacy to bring these 'innovative' products to market, and the agents that develop, regulate, market and use them. Finally, I propose a subversive cosmopolitical, symmetrical approach to open regulatory governance to the provision of a transparent, reflexive and trustworthy parliament of evidence that recognizes innovation can be gamed by elites when health products trump healthcare.

Does the innovation process per se still exist?

Author: Andrzej Jasinski (University of Warsaw)  email

Short Abstract

The main aim of this paper is an attempt to answer the question posed in its title. In other words: Can we still speak about the innovation process as such? An additional aim is to identify new challenges faced by the managers who deal with management of contemporary innovations.

Long Abstract

The main aim of this paper is an attempt to answer the question posed in its title. In other words: Can we still speak about the innovation process as such? An additional aim is to identify new challenges faced by the managers who deal with management of contemporary innovations.

The inspiration to formulate this question has been Chesbrough's (2003) book: Open innovation. The main argument in this paper is that a gradual depiction (phase after phase) of the innovation process is, nowadays, insufficient. In our times, this process de facto is a complex set of diverse processes, partial and complicated. According to Buijs (2003, pp. 76-93), the process of innovation is a set of different, parallel, competitive and contradictory processes taking place at the same time which creates a bit chaotic composition. So, a contemporary technical innovation is the result not of one but of several processes. However, here we don't mean the approach which assumes that innovation is the result of a complex set of processes inside the organization (Doyle and Bridgewater, eds., 1998) because innovative processes today go far beyond the enterprise (see also: Dodgson, Gann and Philips, eds., 2014; Tidd and Bessant, 2009).

So, rethinking of a traditional approach to the concept of the innovation process is needed. On the basis of this, the process model of innovation has been elaborated (Jasinski, 2014).

The basic findings are based on four case-studies (Merck, Procter and Gamble, Nokia and IBM) which are analyzed in the paper.

Tracking the footprints of innovative public engagement

Authors: Mikko Rask (University of Helsinki)  email
Luciano d'Andrea (LSC)  email
Loreta Tauginiene  email
Saule Maciukaite-Zviniene  email

Short Abstract

In this paper we propose the study of ‘PE footprints’ as a new way to map the imprints of public engagement processes in research and politics. Such mapping contributes to the evaluation of the key players, resources, outcomes, and success factors of such activities.

Long Abstract

Public engagement (PE) is strong movement contributing in various ways to research and innovation (R&I) activities. What makes this current so strong is that there is an intensified bottom-up movement for PE, as a high number of non-profit organisations promote PE initiatives through voluntary action. At the same time, PE is the heart and spirit of responsible research and innovation (RRI), promoted by the European Commission. Yet PE is also a fragile process. In particular, it is expected to structurally change practices and governance of European research institutions, but in most cases it seems unable, at least partially, to play the transformative role EC has assigned to it. There seems to be a mismatch between expectations and reality, and perhaps the world of feasibility. In this paper we propose the study of 'PE footprints' as a new way to map the imprints of PE processes in the broad landscape of R&I activities. Such mapping is important in order to understand what kinds of actions will be imported through PE processes, what are the key players, resources mobilized, outcomes achieved, and what issues contribute to the success or failure of such activities. In this paper we will discuss the new methodological approach and present the results of a study of 38 innovative PE processes that we identified in the EU funded PE2020 project. We will reflect the strengths and limitations of the new approach, and discuss the challenges and promises of PE as a tool for renewing governance of R&I.

Producing innovative citizens - Citizensourcing as a technology of government

Author: Carolin Thiem (TUM School of Education)  email

Short Abstract

By drawing on different empirical material and current STS literature, citizensourcing, an OI governmental practice, will be presented as a technology of government . This approach could contribute to a better understanding of OI practices, altering challenging the present nature of policy making.

Long Abstract

Open Innovation (OI) is in everyone's minds and one of its main approaches is crowd- or citizensourcing. During the last decade the governmental sector has adopted the crowdsourcing practice to generate innovations with the help of external actors and it was renamed as citizensourcing.

Crowd-sourced and peer produced solutions have partly derived from a sense of urgency to improve the efficiency and quality of government service delivery (Mergel 2015). Research results indicate that the current focus is more on the citizensourcing-process itself; and raising public awareness is seen as the main goal of OI initiatives.

This talk will nevertheless argue against such a perspective and considers citizensourcing as a new generation of technologies of government (Rose und Miller 1992). The analysis is based on an empirical case study: "ideenkanal", which is an online and offline idea challenge and which has been investigated through a collaborative ethnography.

Until now, a micro perspective of technologies of government has played only a subordinated role in research literature. In this context especially the role of materiality becomes increasingly important. Analyzing the micro-level - which includes both humans and non-humans - could generate new perspectives on this field of research.

With reference to concepts of materiality, it becomes possible not only to dig into the assemblages of technologies of government, but also to support governments developing and improving citizensourcing-formats. While investigating the interplay between different entities, it will be demonstrated that citizensourcing as a technology of government does not only produce responsible but also innovative citizens.

Revealing discourses: (re)imagining innovation and governance through international clinical trials

Author: Lloyd Akrong (Maastricht University)  email

Short Abstract

Internationalizing biomedical research has introduced new publics to ongoing discourse interested in new ways of conceptualizing innovation and governance. This paper reflects on how local African clinical trial stakeholders imagine these concepts and potential contributions to policy development.

Long Abstract

The expansion of biomedical research to diverse settings across the globe has opened up new possibilities for scientific and technological advancement. Beyond manifesting as breakthroughs in the development of novel pharmaceuticals and treatment regimens, it has also provided diverse publics the opportunity to become involved and contribute to discourses that (re)imagine concepts such as innovation and governance in global science. As such, stakeholders often relegated to the periphery of such conversations - LMIC investigators, REC members, trial participants - have now been afforded a platform to express alternative views on how innovation and governance can be conceptualized, while exposing the underlying values shaping these views. Our empirical research on international clinical trials and knowledge production, utilizing in-depth interviews and field observation, analyze how stakeholders have used this platform to articulate, both implicitly and explicitly, their perspectives on innovation and governance against the background of access to health and social justice.

It is widely recognized that the continued expansion and sustainability of international biomedicine depends on the development of new policies for the governance of international research and innovation that are inclusive and responsive. This entails seriously engaging with the perspectives, expectations and opinions of a number of stakeholders. In this paper we use STS to present how local stakeholders (investigators and participants) involved in internationally sponsored clinical trials conducted in Tanzanian and Ghanaian have shaped their ideas of innovation and governance, the underlying values and norms embedded in them, and their potential impact on future participatory policy making.

Rethinking risk governance: Towards a constitutive approach

Author: Hannot Rodríguez (University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU)  email

Short Abstract

Risk is not just a fact, as EU’s RRI assumes, but a heterogeneously constituted reality in which socio-economic considerations are involved. “Constituted risk” implies rethinking risk governance as the governance of the diverse factors by which techno-industrial safeties are constituted.

Long Abstract

Technological risks are regulated to protect health and the environment. However, risk governance policies tend to restrict the range of legitimate approaches to safety on the principle that it can only be debated in the frame of an allegedly objective scientific representation of risk. Socio-economic factors related to innovation dynamics (e.g., underlying innovation rationales or overall societal values) are, thus, not conceived as related to the constitution of safety itself. Risk is then generally represented as a collateral negative consequence, solvable on technical grounds, as is arguably the case in European Union (EU) "Responsible Research and Innovation" (RRI). This paper, which analyses EU regulations and policy narratives, aims to overcome that framing of safety by developing a "constitutive" perspective on the relation between risk and socio-economic factors and dynamics. It argues that risk is constituted according to socio-economic considerations and, as so, it arguably goes beyond most analytical-deliberative STS risk governance theoretical models, where that constitutive character of risk seems not to be fully considered. Understanding risk in constitutive terms allows re-framing risk governance beyond the conventional boundaries of "objective risk" and, consequently, conceiving a broader set of legitimate potential safety scenarios, in tune with the main goal of Track 86. However, such a constitutive risk governance will also highlight serious difficulties to implement more critical constitutions of techno-industrial risk in the framework of highly competitive knowledge-based societies.

Innovation Beyond Growth: Opening the black box of 'Responsible Stagnation'

Authors: Stevienna de Saille (University of Sheffield)  email
Fabien Medvecky (University of Otago)  email

Short Abstract

We draw on existing cases to examine what heterodox economics might contribute to Responsible Innovation, and whether opening the black box of Responsible Stagnation might also open discussion about resource consumption as an intrinsic part of Responsible Innovation, rather than its binary opposite.

Long Abstract

Proponents of Responsible (Research and) Innovation have often opened their discussions with the reassurance that they are not advocating irresponsible stagnation, but rather a mutually responsive system directing innovation towards real social needs. However, this has also meant that in the two-by-two matrix generally used to illustrate this model of innovation, the quadrant for 'Responsible Stagnation' has so far gone largely unmentioned, let alone explored.

Although initially shaped as a counter-measure to top-level demands for speeding up high-tech innovation to stimulate economic growth, there is now evidence that as R(R)I begins to be more widely deployed, particularly through the activities and policies of the European Commission, it has become increasingly incorporated into the growth agenda. At the same time, heterodox economists who acknowledge limitations to the resources which may be extracted from the environment have called for deliberate movement towards a steady state of production, or even controlled degrowth of certain over-productive or too-risky sectors, a way of maintaining and measuring prosperity rather than continually attempting to increase production measured by GDP.

This paper draws on existing real-world cases to examine what arguments drawn from heterodox economics might contribute to the discussion of RI. It questions the present growth-driven paradigm, and asks whether opening the black box of 'Responsible Stagnation' might also open the door for a reasoned discussion about resource consumption, pace of development in over-productive or too-risky sectors and technologies, and distribution of benefit and impact as an intrinsic part of responsible innovation, rather than its opposite.

This track is closed to new paper proposals.