STS - conferences, IST2012

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The role of the cultural and institutional context in the application of co-innovative approaches
Jessica (M.R.) Cornelissen, Bart Bremmer

Last modified: 2012-03-26


The Reflexive Interactive Design (RIO) approach has been applied in several system innovation projects in Dutch husbandry. The main aim is to inspire and mobilise stakeholders in a socio-technical system (e.g. animal husbandry system) to take steps towards sustainability. Structural change (i.e. system innovation) is needed to get to coherent solutions for the complex challenge animal husbandry faces. By including a wide variety of stakeholders in and around animal husbandry in a transdisciplinary multi-stakeholder process, including reflexivity and design, the approach tackles this complex challenge.

The first phase of the RIO approach – system and actor analysis – includes a collective system analysis (CSA) adapted from the Innovation Systems Framework. This tool is deemed to increase reflexivity: it helps in opening up the perceived solution space and reveals (joint) perspectives for action among those involved in the process.

Awareness is growing that the cultural and institutional context plays a role in the success of co-innovative approaches, such as the RIO approach and its CSA tool. When exporting these co-innovative approaches it appears that application in another context is not straightforward.

In this study the influence of the context is investigated by means of a case-study that examines the (Dutch-born) CSA in the Ethiopian context. Characteristics of the Ethiopian institutional and cultural context that are deemed to influence the success of the CSA with regards to reflexivity (i.e. opening up of solution space and joint construction of perspectives for action) are indicated. Additionally, the implications for the design of the tool, especially with regards to the casting of participants and the facilitation, are discussed. Finally, an outlook on what this means for applying co-innovative approaches in different contexts is given.