From Control to Co-production: Eight Steps to Monitor, Evaluate, and Adapt Participatory Experiments
Keywords:Transdisciplinarity, Real-world labs, Evaluation, Interventions, Sustainability Transformation
Co-creative and action-oriented sustainability research, including real-world labs, (urban) living labs, and transformation labs, arose from the desire to contribute to societal transformations. Mentioned labs use experiments to test ideas for a more sustainable life and to promote changes toward sustainability on the ground. As social and scientific actors implement participatory experiments together, social engagement is central to their success. It is important to keep an eye on the impact of an experiment while going along. Monitoring and evaluation allow adjustments at an early stage of experiments. In addition, data can be collected for final evaluation of whether a participatory experiment was successful and why and if it can be transferred or duplicated. Overall, an important societal and scientific learning opportunity is created. While highly promising, such monitoring and evaluation is a challenging task. It depends on continuous interaction with stakeholders for data collection and reflection. Attentive monitoring and adaption might strengthen stakeholder engagement and vice versa. They could even be integrated into the overall co-creation of participatory experiments and labs. Yet, this fruitful interaction has to be worked for, requiring delicate decisions and practical know-how.
This contribution is oriented towards supporting practical applications. It outlines eight steps of how to design, plan and implement the monitoring of a participatory experiment: 1) agree on the objective; 2) determine the experiment and monitoring scope; 3) determine the parameters and indicators of measurement; 4) determine the timing, type and medium of data collection; 5) collect and store data; 6) analyze and evaluate the data; 7) present and communicate the results; 8) adapt the experiment. Steps have a cyclical, iterative nature. Both an ideal-type monitoring scheme and a plan are presented to guide application. A productive interrelation of monitoring and facilitating engagement is discussed and illustrated based on a practical example.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Niko Schäpke, Richard Beecroft (Author)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Social Innovations Journal permits the Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Under the following terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.
- You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
- No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material
Copyright and Publishing Rights
For the licenses indicated above, authors retain the copyright and full publishing rights without restrictions.