Evaluating a City Lab Process in Mannheim's district Neckarstadt-West: Three main challenges for the evaluation

Seus, Sarah and Stadler, Maria (2022) Evaluating a City Lab Process in Mannheim's district Neckarstadt-West: Three main challenges for the evaluation. fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation (53). pp. 133-140. ISSN 1726-6629

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Abstract (english)

During the last few years, city labs have emerged as promising formats to address transformative change. The aim of these formats often is to create collaborative spaces in which different stakeholders can jointly experiment with novel solutions for certain problems. While city labs start to establish transdisciplinary research settings, evaluating the effects of a city lab still brings about several chal- lenges. In this contribution, we reflect on three main challenges that emerged in the course of evaluating a city lab in Mannheim’s district Neckarstadt-West. The city lab was conducted as part of the research project SONNET (Social Innovation in Energy Transitions) and aimed to encourage social innovation in energy and thereby enable local energy transition. In the context of evaluating the city lab, we identified three main challenges that were related to a) evaluating an ongoing and open process, b) external shocks (especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic) and c) evaluating new forms of innovation under the concept of ‘social innovation’. The main achievement of this evaluation was to trace the process of a city lab and identify changes in objectives as well as the engagement of different stakeholder groups. However, an evaluation of the city lab’s outcomes remains challenging due to the openness of the process. This suggests rethinking linear evaluation models in favour of co-designing evaluation criteria in the course of the city lab process.

Subjects: Evaluation of Programmes
Uncontrolled Keywords: City Lab, Evaluation, soziale Innovation
Identification Number: 10.22163/fteval.2022.550
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 06:05
URI: http://repository.fteval.at/id/eprint/610

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