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«OECD Innovation Strategy ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT The OECD is a unique forum where the governments of 30 democracies ...»

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A project example One of the R&D projects, “From forest to houses co-realization of carbon abatement and comfortable life to 2050” (FY2009-2013), is the project that has a prospect of social innovation through the collaboration between social entrepreneurs and researchers.

FOSTERING INNOVATION TO ADDRESS SOCIAL CHALLENGES

Figure 2. The RISTEX’s basic Area management framework Figure 3. The map of R&D Projects currently selected (in June 2010)

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About 67% of land in Japan is forest, but Japan highly relies on artificial and imported materials for housing construction. Forestry is used to be important industry in hilly and mountainous areas, but now forest industry has severely declined due to the reliance on imported woods and artificial materials. As the result, forest has been seriously devastated. Revitalization of domestic forest industry is a crucial issue in Japan, as well as restoring devastated forest in the last several decades and ensuring carbon uptakes.

“Tennen Jutaku”, which means ‘houses made of natural materials’ is a social enterprise that has a direct-linkage business model from forest to houses.

Not only supplying domestically produced woody-”eco” houses, they are putting the supporting system to connect supply and demand including forester and builder training and financial system into practice (see Figure 4). Applying the system that is empirically good, they have already established a position in the limited housing market for serious health problem such as allergy and chemical sensitivity. However, to go beyond just ‘a good practice’ in the limited market and to restore the disconnected relations between forest and houses, they teamed up with practitioners and academic researchers as a R&D project.

Figure 4. A project example: the direct-linkage business model from forest to houses While each team conducts its R&D activities dealing with the topic of forest management, wood processing, quality of houses and systems for woody houses dissemination and forest and forestry restoration, the project takes an open roundtable discussion approach that stakeholders sit on the same table and work together for sharing problems and discussing the solutions so that the social benefit of the direct-linkage business model from forest to houses is widely recognized and disseminated.

FOSTERING INNOVATION TO ADDRESS SOCIAL CHALLENGES

Since this is a case of the collaboration between social entrepreneurs with a clear social mission and academic researchers, they have already had a clue to go beyond just a ‘good practice’. However, there were also projects having little prospect of the social system reform through R&D practices.

Our challenges

As a project management, we are carrying out two task forces, the “Joint task force of battery-type regional transportation” and the “Joint task force for regional application of renewable energy”, composed by several related R&D projects, external experts and practitioners to have a breakthrough toward social system reform.

The “Task force for regional utilization of distributed power supply” targets dissemination of micro hydro power and other distributed power. In Japan, particularly mountainous area, water is plenty and the potential should be high. But it is currently limited use because of, for example, legislative restrictions, the cost and conflicts of interests at the ground level.

Although there are a number of people and entities who want to apply micro hydro power, existing manuals tend to be technical and not to be accessible for non-experts. As one of strategies to diffuse widely micro hydro power system, therefore, we published a manual which is practical and accessible in light of guiding where and how we can implement micro hydro and the effective utilization of local knowledge and human resources.

The “Task force of battery-based regional transportation” currently targets dissemination of electric community buses and battery assisted trains. These potential is high, but it is not diffused at the practical level because of, for example, a belief for high-tech vehicles, legislative restrictions, the cost and the insufficient battery and charging system.

However these aspects are raised only when we regard electric vehicles as alternatives of the current gasoline vehicles. For bringing socio-economic impacts, we target niche market of vehicle, and are under development of a low priced electric community bus and a service system package for local and rural communities.

Concluding remarks

RISTEX aims to invite research applications that have clear social missions and clear ideas of how to cooperate with a variety of local actors, local government officers and researchers. While RISTEX guides a basic principle of Area management system (i.e. Figure 2), the details are designed under the Area director’s responsibility.

FOSTERING INNOVATION TO ADDRESS SOCIAL CHALLENGES

The R&D Area of “Community Based Actions against Global Warming and Environmental Degradation” expects projects to develop and demonstrate novel approaches with “appropriate” technologies to 80% GHGs reduction by 2050 in the combination of technical scenario and socioeconomic scenario for climate change and environmental solution with the quantitative evidence. For bringing effective social impacts to reform the oil-dependent social system through the R&D projects, the Area management team also makes efforts to extend the cooperation network to external experts and practitioners.





Our challenge is still quite unique in Japan in terms of R&D in science and technology for solving the specific problems in the society, and we are still on the trial and error process of R&D research management. However, the importance of our challenges has been gradually recognized because we have faced the reality that there have been piles of funded demonstration experiments but little local and nation-wide practical use so far.

FOSTERING INNOVATION TO ADDRESS SOCIAL CHALLENGES

CHAPTER 6. ADDRESSING SOCIAL CHALLENGES THROUGH

INNOVATION: THE CASE OF FINLAND

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Introduction Together with the colleagues I have experimented with dialogue methods for several years in different countries and contexts ranging from front line customer work to management and governance on the strategic level (Arnkil 2008).

In this chapter I describe a special method and arrangement to promote dialogue in multi-stakeholder settings, which I have developed with my colleagues over the years, called Good Future Dialogue. The distinctive feature of Good Future Dialogues is that instead of making an anticipation from now – to the future, in an ordinary linear fashion, a “leap” to the future is made by imagining that we have transported, say, two-three years ahead.

Further, it is assumed, that considerable progress in the matter at hand, like cooperation in innovation, has been made from each and every ones’ distinctive viewpoint. Then the task, in the dialogue, is just to “remember” what has happened, and to start reconstructing the steps towards the solutions. When a group of people reveal to each other what they remember about the future, it becomes a powerful learning and border spanning experience.

1. Transformations in innovation policies

The need to promote dialogue is highly relevant for the challenges of innovation. Innovation policies have recently been confronted by a multitude of pressures to change. Some of these originate from external developments, some from internal policy issues. National responses to the challenges include both structural and behavioural renewals in innovation policies. The reforms have also their local and regional consequences. An overall development trend is that the dominant innovation policy model, based on linear view and focusing on science push/supply driven high-tech policy, is enhanced and complemented by a new broader approach than

FOSTERING INNOVATION TO ADDRESS SOCIAL CHALLENGES

before. Some have called this new emergent approach as broad-based innovation policy (Edquist et al. 2009. The broad-based approach means that also non-technological innovations, such as service innovations and creative sectors are becoming more attractive as innovation policy targets. In addition the notion of innovation is no more restricted to activities carried out by businesses. Broad-based innovation policy can be extended to encompass wider societal benefits and measures targeted to support service innovation in the public service production. One thing which also broadens the innovation policy activities is shift of focus from the specialisation and narrow spearheads of innovation to a variety of decentralised, horizontal and functional measures supporting innovation activities on a broader base and more comprehensively.

This new innovation policy approach includes also a general shift from planning oriented policies focusing on innovation inputs towards a more flexible, enterprise oriented policies focusing on market developments. This has meant a transition from policy models looking for general ‘best practices’ towards more customised policies and policies supporting the development of in-house competencies, both in private enterprises and public organisations.

New broader innovation approach also takes into consideration that both demand and supply side factors influence the way innovations emerge and diffuse on the markets and within the wider society. The need for useroriented innovation in addition to demand-oriented is recognized. The users and user communities are seen increasingly important for business success and development for commercially successful innovations. User-oriented innovation perspective is considered important also in the public sector where it is believed to support the renewal of public services.

A shift from a relatively narrow and supply oriented innovation policy to a more broad-based one is a tremendous change in many respects. It necessitates a development and implementation of totally new policy instruments and methods to address new connections to stakeholders and actors. This means also transformations in the interfaces, in the “meeting points” of the actors.

One strand of such transformation is to promote dialogue between the different actors. This calls for good methods and skills to facilitate dialogue.

Meetings, forums and workshops tend to run as very traditional and linear monologues. In the following I will present an example of transforming interfaces between actors by using Good Future Dialogue in running workshops.

–  –  –

2. Transforming communication: Good future dialogue in practice The distinctive feature of Good Future Dialogues is that instead of making an anticipation from now – to the future, in an ordinary linear fashion, a “leap” to the future is made by imagining that we have transported, say, two years ahead. Further, we assume that considerable progress in the matter at hand, like cooperation in innovation, has been made from each and every ones’ distinctive viewpoint.

Then the task, in the dialogue, is just to “remember” what has happened, and to start reconstructing the steps towards the solutions. This ‘remembering’ in Good Future Dialogue is promoted by facilitation.

The role of the facilitator is to ask certain questions from the stakeholders present, representing different perspectives, “voices”, to the topic at hand. What those voices are, depends on the topic and the aims of the workshop. Facilitation is used because polyphony, listening and democratic use of time are sought after. This is particularly important in promoting new, open and broad-based innovation.

The use of an outside facilitator brings in a neutral, calming, suspending element, which is important in the face of complexity of the issue, actor and time.



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