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  • Management tools and a management framework for assessing the potential long term S&T options to become embedded in society, SOCROBUST final project report, EUR 21041


This project concerns the management of especially risky and uncertain forms of innovation. More precisely, it concentrates on "architectural" or radical innovations which by their nature challenge existing technological conventions, regulatory frameworks, and established relations between consumers and producers.
Public and private sector managers of research and development projects have ready access to a range of tools and techniques with which to inform and evaluate decisions about the relative merits of competing projects and proposals. The trouble is that conventional management methods assume the stability of technological, regulatory and market environments. As a result, they are of limited value when these dimensions are uncertain. The core problem is this: what can managers do to enhance societal robustness (and hence the chances of social and political success) when dealing with "architectural" innovation.
In response, we devised a feasibility study through which to develop and test a new kit of tools for use in such situations. The tool kit, informed by literature reviews in the sociology of innovation, evolutionary economics, and management and organisational science, helps managers better understand the history and present positioning of their project and determine appropriate next steps to promote and enhance its social viability.
Still in the early stages of development, the SOCROBUST tool kit has been prepared for use in a consultancy style interaction involving two parties: a SOCROBUST assessor and the project manager. It consists of four steps and ten tools, many of which have been designed from scratch. The basic sequence is as follows.

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