A blueprint for successful innovation would be worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately, the reality is that contexts are complex. There are many people involved, unforeseen things happen, or things turn out differently than planned. This means that an actual blueprint detailing what to do to come to a specific result in a step-by-step manner, while guaranteeing success, is practically impossible. What can be done, though, is thinking about helpful ways in which the process of innovation can be fostered.

We have done so in InnoForESt. We collected and compiled a description of the ways in which we support the forest ecosystem service governance innovations in our project. Like a manual, this description is meant as a very practical guide to ‘doing innovation’. As such, it can help you navigate the innovation process. Hence, the name ‘InnoForESt Navigator’.

All of the project elements described in the Navigator contribute to InnoForESt overarching goal of stimulating the development of innovation networks. These networks are supposed to include many people, companies and organisations necessary for forest innovations. InnoForESt provides means to connect all of them through actual and virtual meeting spaces.

In particular, the following project elements are explained in the Navigator: We present an overview of ways we do analysis and come to orientations about the reality in the Innovation Regions. This overview includes our core terms, how we make maps of the ecosystem service distribution in our project regions, and InnoForESt’s theoretical background. We also explain how we analysed stakeholders involved in the Innovation Regions and how we caught a first comprehensive glimpse of the political situations. Furthermore, the navigator provides a deeper look at the methods used in InnoForESt. These include a method for “Constructive Innovation Assessment” and experiments called “Role Board Games”. Both are formats to involve stakeholders in actively co-constructing innovations; both contribute to the development of test instances (“prototypes”) for the innovations. A number of fact sheets about the methods employed are also included in the Navigator. Finally, we describe which training and interactions with practitioners InnoForESt is developing and how we plan to realize a digital innovation platform.

InnoForESt hopes to provide tools and guidelines to structure the process of ‘doing innovation’ instead of the result of the innovation. It is not the one blueprint made for the Innovation Regions, but the diverse blueprints from the Innovation Regions that careful exploration can produce.


By: Dr. E. J. Ewert Aukes and Dr. P. Peter Stegmaier
University of Twente