Three dilemmas plague governance of scientific research and technological
innovation: the dilemma of orientation, the dilemma of legitimacy, and the dilemma of control. The dilemma of orientation risks innovation heedless of long-term implications. The dilemma of legitimacy grapples with delegation of authority in democracies, often at the expense of broader public interest. The dilemma of control poses that the undesirable implications of new technologies are hard to grasp, yet once grasped, all too difficult to remedy. That humanity has innovated itself into the sustainability crisis is a prime manifestation of these dilemmas.
Responsible innovation (RI), with foci on anticipation, inclusion, reflection, coordination, and adaptation, aims to mitigate dilemmas of orientation, legitimacy, and control. The aspiration of RI is to bend the processes of technology development toward more just, sustainable, and societally desirable outcomes. Despite the potential for fruitful interaction across RI’s constitutive domains—sustainability science and social studies of science and technology—most sustainability scientists under-theorize the sociopolitical dimensions of technological systems and most science and technology scholars hesitate to take a normative, solutions-oriented stance. Efforts to advance RI, although notable, entail one-off projects that do not lend themselves to comparative analysis for learning.
In this dissertation, I offer an intervention research framework to aid systematic study of intentional programs of change to advance responsible innovation. Two empirical studies demonstrate the framework in application. An evaluation of Science Outside the Lab presents a program to help early-career scientists and engineers understand the complexities of science policy. An evaluation of a Community Engagement Workshop presents a program to help engineers better look beyond technology, listen to and learn from people, and empower communities. Each program is efficacious in helping scientists and engineers more thoughtfully engage with mediators of science and technology governance dilemmas: Science Outside the Lab in revealing the dilemmas of orientation and legitimacy; Community Engagement Workshop in offering reflexive and inclusive approaches to control. As part of a larger intervention research portfolio, these and other projects hold promise for aiding governance of science and technology through responsible innovation.