Shared Lessons Learned - Fraunhofer & TNO

For actors who are interested in this project or want to implement a similar RRI framework for scientific research and technological development processes, Fraunhofer and TNO have put together a list of tips that should be noted. 

1. Degree of Institutionalisation

Consider the level of institutionalisation and, if necessary, adapt the approach in the goal development process. Not all RRI key dimensions have equal levels of institutionalisation which might result in a different reaction and way of understanding by the participants.

2. Involvement of External Stakeholders

Here the question should not be whether or whether not to include external stakeholders, but rather at which moment, to what content and in which context of the goal development process. External stakeholders can push the organisation out of daily routines and their comfort zone. A recommended approach is to design specific separate sessions for internal and external stakeholders and to create spaces for joint deliberations.

3. Involvement Change Agents

Involving change agents early in the process can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it enables management buy-in and sustainability increases the potential impact. On the other hand, it might be difficult to mobilise high-level internal stakeholder and a strong hierarchical difference among the participants may inhibit the free voicing of ideas. To overcome this, it is recommended to include anonymous elements into the deliberation process such as e.g. televoting and to interact with high ranking participants in advance to the process.

4. Consensus vs. Dissent

To create an open and constructive atmosphere it is necessary to find the balance of attitudes regarding a particular topic. Otherwise, group thinking might occur, and critical thinking will be suppressed. Practically this can be done by providing not only tables for results of consent but also for dissent

5. Smart Goals / Long Term Organisational Goals

It is important to re-translate and to ground far-reaching visions into concrete long-term goals. Fraunhofer and TNO did this by creating so-called Smart Goals / Long term organisational goals. Both approaches help to freeze the ambition level und surround it with relevant boundary conditions.

6. Institutional Change through Seizing Windows of Opportunity

While setting up organisational goals/ Smart Goals it is recommended to become aware of re-structural processes, activities or initiatives that are already taking place within the organization. Such windows of opportunity can provide a foundation RRI transition processes and benefit from possible synergy effects.

7. Consistency of the Topic

Some RRI key dimensions might be more heterogeneous than they appear on the first right. This becomes particularly clear through a comparison with available windows of opportunity. A recommended solution is to separate the aspects and tackle them with different stakeholder configurations.

8. Balance of Holistic vs. Specific Perspectives

As in the nature of large research organisations, key dimensions will be handled differently depending on the organisational unit. Hence it is important to find the right balance between specificity and generality of perspectives.

9.  Management of Expectations

The expectations of stakeholders can and will differ along with the Project. Undoubtedly, communication is the key to keep everyone on the same page. Well defined communication lines are essential.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 709747.