The project "GIs – Strengthening Societal Innovation Capacities" analyses societal innovation capacities in less developed regions. It aims at developing explanations and models to understand the generation of innovations that promote a successful regional transformation. Furthermore, the project develops instruments and measurement approaches for an innovation policy that integrates and promotes societal innovation capacities. Against this background, the scientists analyse these overarching research questions:
What are the characteristics of complex and systemic innovation contexts at the regional level?
How can less developed regions promote an innovation-based structural change?
How can the societal innovation capabilities be utilised to promote sustainability transitions in less developed regions?
Why do some regions manage a quasi "silent" structural change without economic and social upheavals?
The main result is an indicator-based measurement concept for assessing regions' societal innovation capacity that considers regional specificities and indicates starting points for strengthening practices for the future promotion of societal innovation capacity. The measurement concept will be developed in dialogue with partners from science and practice and will begin with an "Open Space Conference". Based on the measurement concept and in-depth qualitative research, a social science-based explanatory model for innovative societal capacity is the central outcome of the project.
The project receives funds from the German Ministry for Research. It is coordinated by the Department Innovation Space & Culture of the Institute for Work and Technology, Westphalian University of Applied Sciences. Project partners are the Centre for Social Investment and Innovation (CSI) of the University of Heidelberg and the Wuppertal Institute.