Together with experts from innovation policy and innovation practice, the RiConfigure initiative organized the online Dialogue Days session on how innovation processes can be democratized. To do so, knowledge and experience of participants from innovation policy and praxis were linked with findings from an empirical analysis of European and Colombian cases of Quadruple Helix* collaborations.
The Dialogue Days that took place early July, turned out to be a success. The main themes of the Dialogue Days were the importance of building structure to foster collaborative innovation processes. One of the outcomes was the importance of establishing shared values and a strong democratic backbone of processes that enable all partners to join such a process are essential. In addition, the focus on transparency and inclusion is of crucial importance was part of the main conclusion too.
There are several challenges and tools when it comes to include civil society actors. Firstly, barriers for civil actors are often invisible to other actors and include challenges of a shared language, time and financial resources and bureaucratic barriers. Also, civil society actors are very differentiated, therefore there is a need to listen to all actors involved.
Secondly, governance structures that enable collaborative innovation to thrive are crucial. It was discussed that there needs to be an open space for experimentation and failing, to being able to react to changes and unexpected events.
Thirdly, the challenges for Quadruple Helix Collaborations are not only rooted in the collaboration process. Instead, it can be influenced by external impacts such as funding ecosystems and values, expectations and influences from outside the collaboration.
Finally, these different tools and challenges are not detached from power structures. Including external funding was seen as a crucial support to strengthen a more democratic approach within innovation collaborations.
*Quadruple Helix Collaborations are innovation projects involving actors from public sector, industry, academia and civil society.