Sharing our approach to understanding and furthering governance innovations in forest ecosystem services is one of InnoForESt’s core elements. We believe that innovations are not standalone, technological implants. Rather, innovations co-evolve with the contexts, stakeholders and times they are situated in. Hence, teaching the Constructive Innovation Assessment approach in academic as well as practitioner environments is a crucial step towards developing a didactical concept. The aim of such a didactical concept is to help practitioners as well as students of innovation to expand their perspectives on and methods for stimulating governance innovation.

On 8th May 2019, Ewert Aukes introduced a set of around ten students of the study program “Forestry System Transformation” at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE) to the InnoForESt approach of Constructive Innovation Assessment (CINA). This included a session on the development of socio-technical scenarios that can be used in the framework of CINA meetings to guide and shape discussions. In two hours, the students gained a birds-eye view of the concept of socio-technical change and related concepts and practiced the development of scenarios. Starting from the observation that in the past technologies suffered from a discrepancy between control over them and knowledge of their impacts, the students were led through a brief history of (Constructive) Technology Assessment as the basis for the InnoForESt approach. This approach propagates meetings of innovators and future users of an innovation as the opportunity to discuss and reflect possible future trajectories of the proposed innovation. These future trajectories can be shaped into scenarios that serve as concrete reference points and imaginaries.

The lecture also included hands-on work on one of the InnoForESt innovations, namely the “Waldaktie” – forest share – located in Güstrow, Germany ( In this ecosystem service share, tourists, companies and other interested parties can compensate their emissions by buying forest certificates. The “Waldaktie” organization then uses those funds to carry out frequent afforestation events in the Northeastern German forests. The question for the InnoForESt partners pursuing this forest share is how to improve the concept by expanding or transforming it. The students were inspired to think about possible options for innovation and subsequently develop future socio-technical scenarios for the option they developed. In this way they gained hands-on experience with developing an innovation and preparing a CINA workshop.

The lecture will be added to the growing body of didactical material for the InnoForESt approach. By now, the materials encompass the structure and content for a three-hour webinar dedicated to an academic audience, this two-hour introduction for master level students as well as fact sheets and a navigator describing the rationale and workflow for implementing CINA in a real-life governance innovation situation. Together with these materials, the lecture and the experience gained will contribute to a broad-ranged, multi-audience didactic concept to share and teach InnoForESt’s innovation action efforts.

In sum, the word about InnoForESt’s approach to governance innovations in forest ecosystem services is spreading and we develop different channels to do so. The development and application of course formats for CINA in such innovation contexts is a practical, empirical contribution to a project deliverable that captures InnoForESt’s efforts to develop innovation capacities and innovation knowledge through the design of appropriate, tailored training events (Deliverable D.5.4). Finally, through the travels of project partners and the inspiration and cross-fertilization by practitioners, InnoForESt realizes the science-diplomatic exchange of scientific and practical knowledge in interaction with the governance situations on the ground.

Author: Ewert Aukes — University of Twente