Process design is crucial

Process design and mutual understanding are crucial to the empowerment of civil
society in research and innovation

Second panel meeting Social Lab 4

November 7th 2019, the Danish social lab focusing on innovation of water
management convened for its second panel meeting in the town Middelfart. At
the meeting, partners from all over Denmark were gathered to discuss how to
create a civic drive in cross sectoral collaborations.
To kick-start this discussion, The Danish Board of Technology had invited the
senior project manager Gy Larsen to facilitate a workshop on civic engagement
by using public engagement methods: World Café, Citizens Hearing, and
Scenario Workshop, respectively. The partners participated vividly and quickly
realized both the usefulness of these methods in their own projects and the
importance of process design when aiming to foster civic drive and democratic

Asymmetries in decision making power

Besides the importance of process design in democratizing innovation,
RiConfigure has showed so far that cross sectoral collaborations may involve
asymmetries in decision making power among partners, which risk impeding
collaboration. For this reason, the participants were asked to put themselves in
each other places to disclose what it takes to render collaboration attractive to
the respective organizations securing executive support. On the basis of this
exercise, the partners expressed a wish to initiate collaborations with
balancing expectations relating to organizational asymmetries and set-up.

New tools for the next lab cycle
Finally, the partners were told to make a plan for next steps in the intervention
period of the lab cycle. Here, it was clear that the panel meeting had been
fruitful for the partners, inspiring them to take new tools in use and be aware
that process design and mutual understanding are crucial to the
empowerment of civil society in research and innovation.

By Frederik Langkjær