The Societal Readiness Thinking Tool : A Practical Resource for Maturing the Societal Readiness of Research Projects

Bernstein, Michael J.; Nielsen, Mathias Wullum; Alnor, Emil; Brasil, André; Birkving, Astrid Lykke; Chan, Tung Tung; Griessler, Erich; Jong, Stefan de; Klippe, Wouter van de; Meijer, Ingeborg; Yaghmaei, Emad; Nicolaisen, Peter Busch; Nieminen, Mika; Novitzky, Peter; Mejlgaard, Niels


In this paper, we introduce the Societal Readiness (SR) Thinking Tool to aid researchers and innovators in developing research projects with greater responsiveness to societal values, needs, and expectations. The need for societally-focused approaches to research and innovation—complementary to Technology Readiness (TR) frameworks—is presented. Insights from responsible research and innovation (RRI) concepts and practice, organized across critical stages of project-life cycles are discussed with reference to the development of the SR Thinking Tool. The tool is designed to complement not only shortfalls in TR approaches, but also improve upon other efforts to integrate RRI, sustainability, and design thinking in research and innovation cycles. Operationalization and early-stage user tests of the Tool are reported, along with discussion of potential future iterations and applications.