We help people with the ethics of new technologies
"..the slightly plaintive question 'How can we restore trust?' is on everyone's lips.
The answer is pretty obvious. First: be trustworthy. Second: provide others with good evidence that you are trustworthy.”
Baroness Onora O'Neill
Pre-mortems and Post-mortems
- A 'Pre-mortem' is a way of considering in advance the potential problems which may occur in a project or plan at a time when options for change are still open.
- Pre-mortems tap into the human brain’s preference for the concrete rather than the abstract and by making the outcome, eg failure, a certainty, tries to by-pass the difficulties we have in generating explanations for uncertain outcomes rather than sure ones - in particular the not-so-obvious or controversial possibilities.
- It seems to us that this is an important way of exploring the potential downsides and benefits of innovation - entire technologies (nanotechnologies, say), particular applications (AI in social media?) or individual products (robots for the care of the elderly?)
- We have been exploring this concept in a number of areas and finding it a very fruitful and engaging form of foresight. Again a multi-stakeholder approach is essential to explore the many potential options, it's often hard for those involved in an area or project to see what might go wrong as they are naturally so invested in the idea.
- We also explore post-mortems, you can't learn the lessons of the past without picking apart what went wrong and what you could do differently next time.
- Check out our flyer below which gives some more detail
An engaging and effective approach to exploring potential risks and involving stakeholders
Pilot of a 'Post-mortem' style mutli-stakeholder project assessing social and safety risks in a controversial technology
A 'critical friend' and coach
- We act as a 'critical friend' to senior managers and organisations to help them understand outside perspectives and develop more socially responsive approaches to innovation.
- This can take the form of coaching and mentoring individuals or facilitating internal initiatives which help multi-disciplinary teams explore how the issues raised by the new expectations will affect their approach.
- It also includes serving in an advisory capacity on boards and committees.
Hilary has been invited to join the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council on Human Rights. She was previously on the Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology.
Multi-stakeholder research & dialogue
- Most of our work involves multi-stakeholder components of one form or another. The involvement of Civil Society Groups and the public seems to be an area which is particularly valued.
- This involves multi-stakeholder research and consultation, stakeholder mapping and analysis, relationship building and partnership development.
- In addition, we contribute to initiatives involving the general public, either as a stakeholder or in an advisory capacity.
The website pilot we developed called WWW.nanoandme.org was one of a number of innovative UK initiatives in nanotech.
What does the public expect of company innovation? Our analysis of 22 dialogues and reports shows what they really think.
Speaking and writing
- We use our enthusiasm, experience and communications skills to build the case for Responsible Innovation through our speaking engagements and writing.
- We deliver keynote presentations, facilitate multi-stakeholder panels and events and deliver our own events to further understanding of Responsible Innovation to stimulate the interest of all stakeholders.
- In addition through blogging, YouTube presentations and media and social media contributions we promote the concepts and practise of Responsible Innovation to all interested parties.
Hilary & Daan have been involved in a number of academic RRI initiatives under Horizon2020 with varying degrees of frustration and success!
Honoured to be asked to speak to Science Communicators and academic researchers in gothenburg, by the Swedish Research Council