Predicting social impact and innovation trajectories: public and private investment at early-stage

September 5, 2020 8:30 - 10:00


Innovation is a social process and, as such, has implications that exceed the technological and scientific aspects. Can such effects be foreseen? A well-known dilemma is that posed by Collingridge, who pointed at how malleable technology is in the early-stages, when social consequences can hardly be foreseen and costs of change are limited; these costs however increase dramatically at later stages, when, ironically, the social impact becomes more visible.
Building on the need for early stage social impact assessment, we propose a World Café to discuss quantitative and qualitative tools for forecasting of technological change and related societal impacts. The World Café is intended as a focus group involving leading scientists, VCs, policymakers, and innovators in a discussion around early stage investments towards value-driven innovation, in both the public and private sectors.
Policy-makers and scientists will be invited to join a dialogue with representatives of the private sector. We will focus on: European Innovation Coucil and Startup Europe as relevant case-studies; the appeal of such initiatives for the private sector; techniques for ex-ante social impact assement, to foster value-driven innovation. Draft list of speakers include representatives of European Commission (FET Unit), Mind The Bridge, academia, VCs.
There will be 3 moments (30 mins each): (i) the speakers will be involved in a panel discussion (5/6 mins each); (ii) each speaker will join one of the coffee tables, debating within the table the topics raised; (iii) each group will give a 2-minute presentation of the group discussion, setting the ground for the final discussion with all participants.
A professional facilitator and a young moderator will lead the discussion. Participants will be involved via interaction platforms (such as slido or mentimeter); the event will be preceded by a twitter campaign and covered by live-twitting – with the support of a professional science communicator.

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