D 4.3: The emergence of governance innovations for the sustainable provision of European forest ecosystem services: A comparison of six innovation journeys

Lasse Loft*, Peter Stegmaier, Ewert J. Aukes, Stefan Sorge, Christian Schleyer, Michael Klingler, Felix Zoll, Jutta Kister, Carsten Mann

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


    With this study we assess the process of developing novel niche innovations for sustainable forest ecosystem services governance. We chose a comparative qualitative analysis approach and conceptually built on, transfer and adapt insights from innovation research. In particular, we conceive of innovation as a process or a journey and not solely as a product. Our conceptual approach further acknowledges the need for taking into account the socio-ecological-technical context. We thus include a focus on the socially enacted interactions between niches that offer particularly fruitful innovation potential, established regimes as well as other socio-cultural, economic and political landscape developments and trends, against the background of which the more specific dynamics of particular regimes and niches evolve.
    The Innovation Journeys are being reconstructed as an opportunity to get an overview of the mechanisms and dynamics of the innovation processes themselves. We proceed in an abductive manner, instead of a deductive-nomological logic. That is, both theoretical and empirical considerations flow into the structure and execution of the analysis. We emphasise that the methodology does not follow the theoretical assumptions, but the latter have developed in the light of the examination of the empirical material. The analytical categories for assessing and structuring our innovation processes have not been set in advance, but were developed with a view to the structure of the cases from the material analysis and partly, where appropriate, from the combination of different theoretical streams.
    We find that (1) innovation development does not take place in isolated space. Rather, it is shaping and shaped by essential context conditions. (2) For innovation development the strategic orientation, i.e., the overarching aims and objectives are essential. (3) We highlight how regional innovations have been organized. (4) In the InnoForESt project, a process structure of measures was jointly developed, which provided for a number of measures to take place everywhere, such as three different types of CINA workshops. In addition, there were activities that were simply necessary to set the work process in motion in the regions. (5) Real world innovation development does not take place under ideal “laboratory” conditions. Rather it is shaped by problems, crises, stagnation and setbacks.
    A closer look at the Innovation Journeys has revealed that (1) innovation processes have a rhythm, (2) which is very different depending on the local and historical situation in which it is embedded, (3) which is not simply going into the direction of the new, towards progress and (4) that stakeholder networks develop along with the rhythm of the innovation process. In addition, the role of the Constructive Innovation Assessment with its multi-phase approach became clearer.
    Much has been achieved in the Innovation Regions during the course of the project by the Innovation Region Teams. In many cases, however, a quiet fading out was observable towards the end of the project, Partially due to the difficulties of meeting under Covid-19 conditions. At this stage it is up to the stakeholders themselves and the regional practice partners to decide whether they feel at ease or in a position to continue what they have achieved so far. The innovation work done is a good start, but still not enough for an innovation to fully take root.
    In order to secure the legacy, stakeholders should initiate more meetings, either on invitation of the practice partner or of one of the stakeholders willing and able to organize an invitation and setup. Keeping in touch with the entire stakeholder network enables to stay up to date with further developments and with external relations and development influencing the innovation. At least regular meetings should enable to keep relationships vivid and to further debate on promising ways to secure achievements and ideally to keep on elaborating the innovation. The established digital platforms with its external and internal parts are ready to be used as technical support for information exchange and keeping the momentum alive.
    For a web adapted version of this deliverable please see https://innoforest.eu/repository/d4-3-overview/
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyEuropean Commission
    Number of pages73
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2020

    Cite this