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Message posted on 17/01/2020

CfP EASST/4S Prague: Empowerment and User Configuration in Innovation

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to share with you our two panels (see below, Panel 61 and 68)
for the upcoming EASST/4S Conference (August 18-21, Prague) and invite you to
submit an abstract (250 words max.) before 29 February.

We are a Horizon 2020 project working on Scaling Up Co-creation: Avenues and
Limits for Integrating Society in Science and Technology
( and are interested in various
aspects of the co-creation of innovation concept, and how to upscale it as an

How to Submit
To submit the panel, visit the program
website and log in with your
4S credentials. If you have submitted a paper to any recent 4S meeting, you
already have an account. Please exercise due diligence and look for an
existing account before creating a new one. Creating a duplicate account is
likely to cause complications. The same caveats apply to entering co-authors
and session participants.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

King regards,

Shelly Tsui
Eindhoven University of Technology
61. Exploring Empowerment in The Co-creation of Innovation

Shelly Tsui, Eindhoven University of Technology; Cian ODonovan, University
College London; Makoto Takahashi, Technical University Munich; Sophie Nyborg,
Technical University of Denmark DTU; Erik Laes, Eindhoven University of
Technology; Mandi Astola, Eindhoven University of Technology


Co-creation continues to be a powerful way to frame practices of technology
development and governance. On its own terms, it transforms passive recipients
into active co-creators, lending a participative hue to innovation imperatives
that otherwise urge disruption and scale-up. And amongst design, business and
policy practitioners, co-creation provides a usefully ambiguous framework with
which to guide the design and deployment of experiments, interventions and
instruments in domains as diverse as energy production, health care and

The promise of co-creation is the empowerment of those usually excluded from
processes of knowledge production. Advocates claim it affords more meaningful
and material participation where the inputs of a diversity of stakeholders are
taken on an equal-footing. Yet what exactly empowerment is in co-creation
remains unclear, and this lack of clarity has implications for the extent to
which co-creation will be adopted by influential actors such as policy-makers
as an approach to include society in technoscientific innovation.

This panel seeks to explore questions about the empowerment and co-creation
nexus. Who or what is empowered, by what means (emergence), and to what ends?
Which concepts of power and agency might help us to think this through? Does
empowerment for some mean disempowerment of others? What are the implications
for ethics, responsibility and governance? What makes empowerment under
co-creation different from existing calls for participation in innovation?

We welcome conceptual and empirical papers that explores these questions and
others that deal with the role of empowerment, communities, agency in
practices of co-creation and knowledge production.

Keywords: Co-creation, empowerment, knowledge production, stakeholder
engagement, innovation

68. From Citizen to Citizen-Subject? Exploring (Re)-Configurations of The
Public in Innovation

Organizers: Shelly Tsui, Eindhoven University of Technology; Benjamin Lipp,
Technical University Munich; Anja Kathrin Ruess, Munich Center for Technology
in Society, Technical University of Munich; Meiken Hansen, Technical
University of Denmark; Bozena Ryszawska, Wroclaw University of Economics


In the European innovation policy discourse, the role of the public, namely
citizens, is changing. There have been calls for more forms of public
engagement with citizens in science, technology, and innovation to promote
more transparency, democratization of information and knowledge, and the
matching of societal needs and outcomes. To achieve this, initiatives such as
living labs, demonstration projects, test beds, makers-spaces, innovation labs
and fab-labs are increasing in number in public spaces (e.g. universities,
neighborhoods, and popular streets). The hope is that by including the
citizens directly in the innovation process through real-time feedback loops
through approaches like co-creation and co-design, not only would the needs
and outcomes better align, but citizens would become more knowledgeable
through first-hand experience.

However, in co-creating, co-designing, and engaging in the innovations design
process, new trends are emerging. Citizens are no longer passive recipients of
innovative outcomes, and instead take an active role in shaping them.
Simultaneously, citizens are treated as subjects. As a result, the distinction
between end-user, citizen, and subject are no longer clear, and has
implications for agency, power, and challenging existing structures of
participation and knowledge.

We seek to explore these emerging configurations of the publics engagement in
innovation and welcome conceptual and empirical contributions. What is the
relevance of the terms users, subjects, and citizens? How does this
ambiguity affect knowledge production and the discourse of expert versus
lay-people expertise? What implications do these trends have for
policymakers as public experimentation initiatives become more commonplace?

Keywords: citizens, innovation, configuration, knowledge production, public
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