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04: The Cycle of Innovation and its Ecology

Breakout / Working Group
english language

Innovation follows the cycle of “creative destruction” (Schumpeter). Resilience Science and Cultural Theory models show that different stages of the innovation cycle require different “characters”: scientists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, etc. Computational science shows that these “different characters” apply different search strategies to solving problems. Citizen and Community Science as a broker within this ecology of innovation has a special (practical) role.


Austrian Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy, Vienna Key Note
Professor and Head, Department of Ecosystem Services, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), and Chair, Ecosystem Services, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena; Project Lead, GEWISS - Citizens Create Knowledge (BürGEr schaffen WISSen); Leipzig Abstract
Civic engagement plays an increasingly important role, not only in society but also in research, as one avenue for different actors to actively participate in our strongly science-based society. Citizen science describes the engagement of people in scientific processes who are not tied to institutions in that field of science. Participation can range from the short-term collection of data to the intensive use of leisure time in order to delve deeper into a research topic together with scientists and/or other volunteers. Although many volunteer scientists do have a university degree, this is not a prerequisite for participating in research projects. However, it is important that scientific standards are adhered to. This pertains especially to transparency with regard to the data collection methodology and the open discussion of the results. The overarching focus for all Citizen Science projects is the gaining of scientific knowledge for both science and society.
If Citizen Science is understood as the independent involvement of citizens in science, there is potential for innovation in the format of participation and influence of civic society stakeholders in scientific processes.
For science, the added value of Citizen Science is to be found in the integration of new knowledge and new impulses from society in the research process. The collaborative work with citizens also enables joint learning processes within science as new or alternative knowledge, methods and perspectives are discussed. Unique potential for new research topics can unfold from this. These include, for instance, socio-ecological research that considers the reciprocal influence of natural, social and cultural phenomena. Here, Citizen Science provides important insights for science into the living environment of citizens.
In some cases, the participation by citizens in scientific investigations actually enables comprehensive research in the first place. This is the case, when not only local views and findings are included, but also large-scale data sets with temporal-spatial or qualitative aspects, e.g. from locations which scientists are not able to access are required to answer scientific questions.
Citizen science can also stimulate and inspire new science communications concepts, which in turn are essential for the successful implementation of Citizen Science projects as well as acceptance of scientific evidence in society. Here, also new participants that have so far shown restrained interest in social participation can be addressed and involved.
Participation by citizens, however, is not suitable, practical or realistic for every scientific issue. The question of whether Citizen Science is suitable for a specific project depends on the research question, the experimental design, the extent of the prior knowledge required, the know-how, skills and resources of the scientists, the capacities available for comprehensive communications, as well as personal safety aspects.
At a political level, Citizen Science can be an important building block in the national debate on developing solutions for urgent societal problems. Fundamentally, efficient and sustainable joint working of actors from science, policy and civil society is required. Involving citizens should occur as early as possible in the process and should be fostered across all phases of the science process. In this way, Citizen Science can provide opportunities to build and expand bridges between society, policy and science in response to local and global challenges. Citizen Science can thereby provide a contribution to advance innovation and sustainable transformation in science and society.
Assistant Professor, iSchool - Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL Abstract
User-generated content at various scales and across socio-technical platforms has enabled new possibilities for studying (the interplay of) social interaction and information flow in contemporary contexts, and for testing the applicability of classic theories from the social sciences within these settings . For example, in our work, we have used a combination of substantive knowledge from social science, psychology, and media studies, among other fields, and methods from network analysis and natural language processing, to develop computational solutions for assessing the impact of information products, mainly issue-focused documentaries, on the individual, community, and societal level . As part of this work, we have analyzed user-generated content to enable the detection of changes versus reinforcement in personal behavior, knowledge and emotions.
In the emerging field of "human centered data science", a couple of game changers have started to disrupt and/ or advance classic scientific routines : First, with entire groups or communities generating digital social trace data, some effects can be measured instead of having to be estimated. Second, the availability of such data allows us to listen to information or data that people have been providing instead of having to ask them (even though survey techniques and data mining methods can be combined). Third, applying mixed methods research designs to mixed data is becoming the norm instead of being an exception.
These opportunities go hand in hand with several challenges: First, verifying the accuracy of (mixed) data at scale is crucial as it may distort analysis results. However, achieving this goal can be difficult when data generation, collection, and provenance techniques and contexts are not fully transparent and/ or loaded with implicit assumptions, and requires a certain amount of familiarity of the application domain and data collection context4. Second, we often refer to classic theories from the social sciences when formulating our hypothesis, identifying (indictors of) independent variables, and creating our research designs. An assessment of the validity of these classic theories and hypotheses in today's contexts is needed. Third, working with human centered data from online sources involves a variety of types of regulations, such as institutional or sectoral norms, intellectual property including copyright, privacy and security laws and regulations, terms of service, and personal values . Responsibly navigating this space requires expertise as well as an active dialogue between researchers, funders, and policy makers to update or create some norms and regulations.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, Young Scientists Summer Program, IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Towson, MD Abstract
In nature, ecosystems change through an identifiable sequence from early stages of growth and development to later stages. In the early stages, structure, diversity, complexity and cyclic exchanges are low, as are the energy captured and energy flowing through the ecosystem. Through boot-strapping, the ecosystem builds greater structure, which in turn increases the ability to capture more energy and create more structure. These self-reinforcing, self-organizing processes lead to greater ecological complexity and diversity. The system growth is ultimately constrained by resource limitations, namely solar energy but also local variation in nutrient and water availability. Eventually, the inflows are balanced with the outflows and the size of the system reaches dynamic equilibrium. Ecologists refer to this state as the climax state. While quantitative growth diminishes, qualitative ecosystem development continues through improved network configurations and information. The story doesn't stop there, though, as the system responds to external perturbations some contained within the threshold of tolerance but others disrupting and upsetting the system. An ecosystem in collapse must protect its vital functions to survive. Following the disturbance the system can reorganize and repeat the successional growth and development along similar or varied trajectories depending on the new initial conditions. Systems ecologist, Buzz Holling, introduced the adaptive cycle to conceptualize this 4-stage cycle of transformation: growth - equilibrium - dissolution - reorganization. From these patterns emerge long-lasting and universal features of ecological systems evolving and co-creating sustained life.
Ecosystems react to this pattern passively to confer survivorship but do not consciously anticipate the subsequent stages. The adaptive cycle also provides a useful conceptual model for understanding dynamic innovation in socio-economic systems, particularly since we have cognitive awareness of the larger cycle. Recognition of the stage gives insight to resources and competencies needed to flourish in the current stage and prepare for the ones to follow. This presentation overviews the application of the adaptive cycle in ecological succession and provides a framework for the design of socio-economic systems.
Senior Research Scholar, Risk Policy and Vulnerability Program, IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg Abstract
Both the cultural theory-based "innovation cycle" and Holling's "ecocycle" are generated by disequilibrium systems that belong to the family of dynamical systems that is characterised by "epigenetic landscapes": agents continually transforming the world that they themselves, paradoxically it might seem, have created. Such systems, being complex, cannot be described in terms of equations, but they can be explored through "bottom-up" computer simulations, and these provide some useful guidance in understanding the often bizarre and counter-intuitive behaviour of these systems.
The serious shortcomings of conventional policy approaches, along with the practical "dos" and "don'ts" by which they can be remedied, can then be identified through case studies of development efforts in Nepal (but the lessons are of general validity) in relation to seven different technologies. These prescriptions can be summarised as "elegance out, clumsiness in": don't insist on a single agreed definition of the problem; don't try to ensure you separate facts from values; don't set up a single metric (dollars, lives saved etc.) so as to compare and evaluate options: don't optimise.
Professor for Environmenal History, Institute of Social Ecology, University of Klagenfurt Abstract
According to leading interdisciplinarity theorist Katri Huutoniemi, the integration of knowledge across academic disciplines and the accountability of science to society are two major science policy issues. She views interdisciplinarity as a mode of epistemic accountability across disciplinary boundaries, which promises to make academia more than the sum of its disciplinary parts. Interdisciplinarity is not simply a category of research, but involves a social epistemic mechanism of coordination, control, and compromise between disciplinary regimes of knowledge. Due to being situated on the borders between disciplines, interdisciplinary research operates in an accountability environment that is contingent on more than one discipline: it is obliged to actively search for an audience, consider what is worth investigating, and struggle with norms of good conduct. This is also why interdisciplinarity appears resistant to definition and evaluation: it keeps challenging the prevailing epistemological structures (Huutoniemi, 2015).
Transdisciplinary research, or better, the many forms of co-creation of the robust knowledge needed for times of high risk and unpredictability are even more of a challenge to the existing systems. Super-wicked problems such as climate change can be tackled only in a culture fostering sustainable innovation. Sustainable Innovation can be understood in analogy to biology as an edge effect. On the boundary between two different ecosystems, biodiversity climaxes. Multiple criteria for decision-making and a culture of precaution coupled with awareness of long-term effects challenges institutions. It will set a process of change in institutions in motion, if they do not actively engage in it. The 7 Hypotheses I offer address different aspects of transdisciplinary co-creation.
1. Rather than just involving new roles (the scientist, the entrepreneur, the bureaucrat, the community organizer, the facilitator etc.) sustainable innovation is based on changes of these roles. We already know the "science-entrepreneur" (Craig Venter as a role model), but how about the "facilitatist", the community-entrepreneur and others?
2. All involved institutions (the university, the research center, the start-up, the science ministry, the community), are non-trivial systems that are deeply challenged by these changes and prone to react by a split between changers and preservers.
3. Sustainable Innovation happens outside the comfort zones of institutions and their members and hence, needs special zones of fostering (including high-risk funding).
4. The innovations needed are based on inter- and transdisciplinary knowledge. They are not merely technological, but are at core social challenges or at least involve such challenges.
5. To boost their performance, sustainable innovation systems need a multi-criteria-based, forward-looking, formative culture of evaluation rather than indicator-based ex-post assessments.
6. Sustainable innovation as a multiple niche strategy has to account for socio-ecological inheritance, long-term and side-effects and develop tools for precautionary action.
7. Therefore, sustainable innovation means to re-think "innovation". This involves changing its scoping procedure, its incentive structures and its toolboxes. New tools are needed to adopt a precautionary attitude to become innovative within planetary boundaries.
Changing science governance to embrace sustainable innovation is not just about new ways of funding, it is about implementing, perhaps even mainstreaming, transdisciplinarity in the entire governance chain, from designing new educational offers, to publication outlets, performance measures of individuals and institutions to multi-criteria-based funding schemes and real incentives for implementation.
Founder and Director, FASresearch, Vienna Chair
Scientific Assistant, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Vienna Coordination

Dr. Harald MAHRER

Austrian Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy, Vienna

1995-1997 Chairman, Austrian National Students Union, Vienna University of Economics and Business
1997-2000 Research Assistant, Vienna University of Economics and Business
2000-2005 Managing Director, legend Consulting GmbH
2006-2010 Founder and Managing Director, Pleon Publico Public Relations & Lobbying
2011-2012 Founder and Managing Director, cumclave Unternehmensberatung
2011-2014 Managing Director, Tauern Holding
2014-2017 State Secretary, Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy
since 2017 Austrian Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy

Dr. Aletta BONN

Professor and Head, Department of Ecosystem Services, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), and Chair, Ecosystem Services, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena; Project Lead, GEWISS - Citizens Create Knowledge (BürGEr schaffen WISSen); Leipzig

2000 PhD in Conservation Biology, Technische Universität Braunschweig
2001-2003 Postdoctoral Research Associate (DAAD) University of Sheffield
2003-2009 Research Manager, Peak District National Park, UK
2003-2011 Honorary Research Associate, University of Sheffield, UK
2009-2012 Research Manager, IUCN UK Peatland Programme, York, UK
2012-2013 Research Fellow, Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin
2012-2014 Research Fellow, Helmholtz - Centre for Environmental Research  UFZ, Leipzig


Assistant Professor, iSchool - Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

2000-2002 Research Scholar, Carnegie Mellon University, ICES - Institute for Complex Engineered Systems
2003 M.A., Communication Science, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden
2003-2006 Software Developer and Research Associate, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science
2007 M.S., COS - Computation, Organizations and Society, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, Pittsburgh, PA
2012 Ph.D., COS - Computation, Organizations and Society, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, Pittsburgh, PA
2012-2016 Teaching, Different Courses, iSchool, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
since 2012 Assistant Professor, iSchool - Graduate School of Library and Information Science and Faculty Affiliate, Department of CS - Computer Science, ITI - Information Trust Institute, I3 - Illinois Informatics Institute, UIUC - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D. Brian D. FATH

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, Young Scientists Summer Program, IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Towson, MD

 Professor, Biology Dept., Towson University, Maryland, USA; Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis Program, IIASA, Austria
 Since 2009 Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Ecological Modelling. present
  Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Ecology 2nd Edition
 Since 2009 Visiting faculty, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
 Since 2011 Scientific Coordinator, Young Scientists Summer Program, IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria
 Since 2013 Guest Professor, State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Ph.D. Michael THOMPSON

Senior Research Scholar, Risk Policy and Vulnerability Program, IIASA - International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg

1960-1961 Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham, Part I of BSc General (Chemistry, Pure Mathematics and Statistics), University of London (External)
1962-1965 BSc (Special) Anthropology, University College London
1965-1968 BLitt Social Anthropology, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
1973-1976 PhD Anthropology , University College London
1979-1980 Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Policy and Management Research, Santa Monica, California, USA
1980-1985 International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Laxenburg, Austria
1985-1987 Institute for Management Research and Development, The Business School, University of Warwick, UK
since 1987 Selfemployed, The Musgrave Institute, London
since 1995 Professor II, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Senior Researcher, Norwegian Research Centre in Management and Organisation (LOS Centre), Bergen (now Reorganised into the Rokkan Centre)

Ing. Dr. phil. Verena WINIWARTER

Professor for Environmenal History, Institute of Social Ecology, University of Klagenfurt

1981 Engineer (Ing.) of technical chemistry, HTLBVA 17, Vienna
1991 MA in History, University of Vienna
1998 PhD in Environmental History, University of Vienna
2003 Habilitation in Human Ecology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Vienna
2007 Professor in Environmental History, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

Mag. Dr. Harald KATZMAIR

Founder and Director, FASresearch, Vienna

 Studies in Sociology and Philosophy, University of Vienna
1992-2000 Research Assistant, Institute for Economics, Vienna University for Economics and Business
1995-1997 Research Associate, Institute for Sociology, Faculty of Social- and Business Sciences, University of Vienna
1997-2002 Founder and Chief Executive Officer, FAS - Forschungsgesellschaft für angewandte Sozial- und Strukturanalyse OEG, Vienna
since 2002 Founder; Head of Science; Chief Executive Officer, FAS.research Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungsgesellschaft mbH.,Vienna
since 2013 Vice-president, NEIN ZU KRANK UND ARM Foundation
since 2015 Member, Supervisory Board, FWF - Austrian Science Fund, Vienna

Technology Symposium

show timetable


13:00 - 13:10OpeningPlenary
13:10 - 14:15RTI TalkPlenary
14:30 - 14:50From Austria to Silicon Valley - Cyber Security as a Global FactorPlenary
14:50 - 16:10Cybernetics in Advanced Energy and Production SystemsPlenary
16:30 - 17:45Complexity and the New EnlightenmentPlenary
20:00 - 20:15Best of Art and ScienceCulture
20:15 - 21:15Tickets to Berlin: Falling Walls Lab Austria and Alpbach Summer School on EntrepreneurshipPlenary
21:30 - 23:00Career LoungeSocial
21:30 - 23:30Evening ReceptionSocial


09:00 - 10:30Digital MedicinePlenary
09:00 - 18:00Junior Alpbach - Science and Technology for Young PeopleBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Ö1 Children's University Alpbach - Science and Technology for KidsBreakout
10:30 - 12:30Cross-sektorale Kooperationen von ClusternPartner
11:00 - 12:30Personalized Cancer MedicinePlenary
12:30 - 13:00Lunch Snacks for the Participants of the Breakout SessionsSocial
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 01: Innovation by Making: Paradigm Shifts and New Innovation CulturesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 02: Silicon Austria: A Game Changer for Austria as a High-Tech Location?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 03: Creating the Future: How to Reinvent Innovation ProcessesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 04: The Cycle of Innovation and its EcologyBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 05: Heavy Impact of Lightweight DesignBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 06: Looking Into the Unknown and Shifting HorizonsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 07: Radical Innovations: More Courage to Take RisksBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 08: The Acceptance of Technologies by Pupils with Migration History - a Plea for Transcultural Competence as new EnlightenmentBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 09: Cyber Security: A Fundamental RightBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 10: Open Access & Open Innovation - Tools for a New Enlightenment?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 11: Realities and Futures of RoboticsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 12: Energiewende - Empowering ConsumersBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 13: Security of Supply as a Locational FactorBreakout
19:00 - 20:30Innovation Marathon: Ideas Made to Order - 24 Hours NonstopPlenary


09:00 - 10:30Art Meets Science and Technology - Towards a New EnlightenmentPlenary
10:45 - 11:45Open Innovation: New Enlightenment? Participation - Democratisation - New SolutionsPlenary
12:15 - 13:30ETH Zurich, this Year's Special Guest at the Technology SymposiumPlenary
13:30 - 14:00Snack ReceptionSocial