Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation

If you wish to cite this content please refer to:
Popper, R., Velasco, G., and Popper, M. (2017) CASI-F: Common Framework for the Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation, CASI project report. Deliverable 6.2.


  • The journey towards the finalisation of CASI-F is a good example of a collective mobilisation and mutual learning process, where CASI partners in 12 EU countries (AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, DK, FI, IT, PL, PT, SI, UK), together with country correspondents in the other 16 Member States and a network of 40+ innovators were engaged in the co-creation and crowdsourcing of solutions to critical issues raised by the Societal Challenge on Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials (SC5). The CASI-F driven MML process helped to promote the incorporation of science in society by integrating multiple knowledge sources and multi-stakeholder perspectives (including those of citizens and sustainability experts) into the assessment of critical issues and the better management of sustainable innovations that embrace societal concerns and needs.

  • As stated in the CASI Description of Work (DoW) (2015), the main objective of the project has been the development of CASI-F as “a methodological framework for assessing sustainable innovation and managing multi-disciplinary solutions through public engagement in the research, technology development and innovation (RTDI) system, by ensuring the commitment of a broad spectrum of societal stakeholders into its implementation, including industry, policy-makers, research organisations and academia, civil society organisations and the general public.” To achieve such methodological framework, the authors have developed five sets of complementary steps for the assessment and management of SI. Therefore, in practical terms, CASI-F consists of five interconnected sets of protocols and tools:

    • Protocols and tools for sustainability relevance and scanning, i.e. identifying SC5-relevant innovations, policies and aspirations;
    • Protocols and tools for multi-criteria analysis and assessment, i.e. selecting or prioritising nominated innovations, policies and aspirations using a set of criteria relevant to SC5 and MML priorities;
    • Protocols and tools for critical issue analysis and assessment, i.e. analysing selected innovations, policies and aspirations so as to identify and prioritise critical issues, such as barriers, drivers, opportunities and threats;
    • Protocols and tools for multi-level advice management, i.e. generating and prioritising multi-level and multi-stakeholder actions to manage prioritised critical issues; and
    • Protocols and tools for action roadmaps management, i.e. developing roadmaps for the most important and urgent actions.
  • The numerous activities around the conceptual and methodological design, piloting, implementation and diffusion of CASI-F led to significant impacts and by-products, some of which were planned in the DoW, such as the methodological framing and execution of 43 CASI pilots. However, there are equally important ‘unplanned’ by-products that deserve to be mentioned, such as the top 10 recommendations for R&I Policy Agendas on SI and the integration of the Visions Bank and Actions Bank into CASIPEDIA and CASI-F.

H2020 relevance

  • Both the CASI-F methodology and its ‘by-products’ (including CASIPEDIA, Ideas Bank, Actions Bank, Visions Bank and the supporting CASI Tutorial and other web-based Policy Watch-related modules, such as the CASI Blog and CASI Library of Documents and Policy Briefs) can be seen as state-of-the-art e-infrastructures capable of fostering Europe’s innovation potential and human capital. They do this by: (1) introducing forward-looking approaches to address critical issues (potentially) hampering or boosting the sustainability of SI, and (2) promoting a multi-stakeholder and bottom-up approach to the development of the right set of aptitudes and attitudes among innovators, sponsors, brokers and beneficiaries of SI. In this sense, the widespread use of CASI-F in the assessment and management of SI will almost certainly help the EU R&I system to become more competitive on a global scale.

  • There are several ways in which CASI-F can contribute towards the H2020 pillar of industrial leadership. First, by including product, service, social, organisational, governance, system and marketing innovations, CASI-F can stimulate all forms of innovation in SMEs and large businesses. Second, by promoting the development of ‘action roadmaps’ around SI management dimensions (context, people, process and impact) and SI management key aspects, CASI-F can strengthen and increase the innovation capacity of industrial actors to contribute to economic growth and the quality of life of European societies. Third, by encouraging a multi-systemic sustainability assessment and management, CASI-F can help to monitor and promote positive transformations in economic, societal, environmental, infrastructure and government systems.

  • CASI-F has been designed, piloted, implemented and promoted to address SC5. However, the versatility of its five-step approach to the assessment and management of critical issues shaping the future of such a wide range of innovations suggests that CASI-F could be easily adapted and applied to the other European SCs. These are: Health, demographic change and wellbeing; Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, maritime and inland water research, and the bioeconomy; Secure, clean and efficient energy; Smart, green and integrated transport; Europe in a changing world; and Secure societies. In fact, an adaptation of CASI-F protocols has been used in successful proposals (for an Innovation Centre in Australia and for Forest-based Bioeconomy Areas in Uruguay), thus showing the potential for further methodological developments of CASI-F in the future.

The way forward

  • One area for further research is using CASI-F to assess and manage failure by promoting mutual learning from the critical issues and actions of failing or failed innovations. Indeed, some of the mapped and piloted cases may not be sustainable in the future.

  • Another open research question is whether CASI-F can help innovations at their conceptual and prototyping stages. In CASI we focused mainly on successfully implemented or diffused cases, thus the protocols and tools would need to include some ex ante impact assessment criteria, should CASI-F be applied to concepts and demonstration activities too.

  • In an increasingly globalised world a systemic assessment and management of the interconnection between several innovations would need to be incorporated into CASI-F in order to deliver sustainable value to end-users in a wide range of business areas.

  • Regardless of the maintenance costs of CASI-F, its future would benefit from a new step incorporating ISO sustainability standards and quantitative assessment methods and tools (e.g. LCA) as either a preliminary task or as a cross-cutting activity complementing all the steps of CASI-F.


CASI-F in the context of research and education activities: interview with Mattia Martini - researcher at the University of Milano-Bicocca

On the impact and uptake of CASI-F: interview with Edgaras Leichteris - CASI Country Correspondent for Lithuania

On CASI-F for business actors: interview with Antonios Lygidakis - Co-founder of ECOverified (SI case mapped/piloted by CASI)