Management of Change through the Internet?

This project aims to find ways to use Internet as a way to improve decision-making processes in the agro-food chain towards sustainability. In this, we focus on the behaviour and decision-making processes of (a) entrepreneurs, (b) scientists working on agro-economic modelling and (c) consumers.

The project focusses on identifying the needs of the users of ICT tools, websites and platforms (social media) and distilling critical success factors of these tools, websites and platforms to enhance knowledge exchange and stimulate change in opinion, attitude and behaviour with respect to increasing responsible innovation and sustainability in agro-food chains. We aim to link diverse types of information(e.g., at farm, sector and societal level) to support interaction and to give users a role in the development of new knowledge.

As concluded from the literature studies in 2012, development of ICT tools in general takes place with limited consultation of the targeted users. Hence, we propose to further investigate and test how the interaction between developers and targeted users could be increased and improved. Moreover, it is not clear which aspects of ICT tools are most effective in enhancing behaviour change among users. The current project therefore aims to answer the following research questions:

This research question falls apart in two sub-questions:

  1. How can ICT tools be used to influence:
  2. Which design principles can be formulated so that the interaction between ICT developers (e.g. model developers, website designers) and users (e.g. agricultural entrepreneurs, consumers) effectively contributes to decision-making towards sustainability?


The following four work packages will be conducted:

WP 1: Support responsible entrepreneurial innovation of agricultural entrepreneurs. Activities: 2 focus groups; one with users of the ICT platform agriconnect (agricultural entrepreneurs  and advisors) and one with non-users of agriconnect (innovating agricultural entrepreneurs  and advisors).

WP 2: Development of a methodology that improves collaboration in interactive knowledge development, aimed at enabling and stimulating users to make decisions towards sustainability. Activities: examination of existing Living Lab cases (2013), followed by application of gathered insight in a case-study (2014) and evaluation and synthesis (2015).

WP 3: Social media as tool to explore whether information messages induce effective emotions that stimulate sustainable behaviour.

Activities: 2 or 3 subsequent experiments.

WP 4: Integration, knowledge sharing, and synergy. Activities: among others a brainstorm session, internal and external review meetings.


  • Workshop to provide knowledge sharing among related projects.
  • Two popular scientific publications Scientific article on use of ICT to increase knowledge sharing and innovation in an agricultural context.
  • Scientific article on aspects of ICT that elicit effective emotions and subsequent behaviour.
  • Scientific article on user participation and open innovation in economic models