In-depth analysis

A total of 32 case studies will deepen the analysis of interactive innovation by LIAISON researchers

A common framework as basis for the in-depth case studies

The basis of the case study work is the analytical framework.  It structures the research and helps us to collect and analyze empirical data. The framework is based on the conceptual framework, the findings of different workshops in the LIAISON project and upon the findings of the ‘Light-touch’ Reviews.  We choose to follow an holistic approach and to focus not only on the interactive innovation case itself but also on the embeddedness of this case in the funding environment, in the wider context and its relation to other relevant stakeholders. 

We have developed a framework with 5 interactions:

  1. Interaction with a funding mechanism (both private and public)

When interactive innovation projects want to gain financing, they need to develop strategies.  Sometimes they have to go through a selection process.  We want to investigate this in interaction 1.

  1. Interaction within the interactive innovation case

Here we focus in the relationships and cooperation within the partnership within the interactive innovation case itself.

  1. Interaction with other actors/stakeholders not formally involved in the interactive innovation project

In this interaction we are looking for the links the interactive innovation cases make with all actors/stakeholders not formally part of the partnership of the project, but still influencing the project.

  1. Interaction with the context

We explore the impact of the formal regulatory or policy environment as well as the more informal social environment consisting of norms, values and culture.

  1. Interaction with the societal challenge

We make a critical reflection on how the interactive innovation cases perceive their contribution to societal change.

Selection of 30 cases

30 cases were selected out of the 200 projects used in the Light Touch Review.  5 criteria were established at the start of the project to select case studies:

  • Relevance and information richness – is the case helpful in answering key research questions?
  • Maturity: are the developments in the case study sufficiently advanced to provide insights?
  • Learning opportunity: can insights (at least partly) be expressed in more general terms?
  • Feasibility: can the case study be comprehensively analysed with available data?
  • Coverage: we will ensure sufficient coverage of different national AKIS and policy contexts, including a variability in sectors, stakeholders and innovation approaches.

The selection process was an interactive and participatory process including all LIAISON partners.  The process consisted of 5 steps:

  1. Exclusion: one of the questions in the Light Touch Reviews was if the persons involved in the interactive innovation would be interested to cooperate in the LIAISON project as a case study. When the interviewees answered negative, cases were excluded from the selection. 
  2. Clustering: the cases were clustered in 4 groups depending on the type of funding and the scale on which they operated.
  3. Applying selection criteria: cases were only selected if they considered sufficiently the multi-actor approach and if they seem interesting enough to learn from (from the point of view of the LIAISON-project i.e. interactive innovation processes)
  4. Categorizing :The remaining cases were labelled according to different categories.

In order to have enough diversity in the different categories, we determined quota for each category.

  1. Collective selection: together with all LIAISON partners we selected two cases for each partner, taking into account diversity in categories and diversity in the clusters (step 2).
  2. Reflection: after the final selection, the LIAISON group reflected if these selection of 30 cases was sufficiently diverse, balanced and without ethical issues.

The research

Once all cases are selected and have agreed to participate as a case study, the data collection can start.

In order to guarantee a similar way of collecting data by all LIAISON partners, a training was organized for all case study deputies (the persons responsible for data collection from each LIAISON partner) in Brussels.  The main objectives of the training were:

  1. Getting acquainted with all information, methods, tools and instruments needed to bring the case studies to a successful end;
  2. Building a common understanding of key concepts and vocabulary for the case studies;
  3. Being comfortable with implementing the case study in each specific context.

The training consisted of theory on qualitative research and a lot of exercises on research design, in-depth interviewing, focus groups, participatory techniques. 

Phase 1. Foundation: Analytical framework for the in-depth case studies

The basis or the foundation of the case study work is the analytical framework. This analytical framework structures the research and helps us to collect and analyze empirical data. Using this framework should streamline the data collection and should allow us to compare cases in order to draw conclusions. 

Phase 2. Co-creative research design

The objectives of this phase are to:

  1. Gain a thorough understanding of which questions you will need to answer in the “reporting template” at the end of your in-depth case study;
  2. Reflect on the relevance and applicability of the different questions in your case study;
  3. Reflect on which actors/persons are needed to interview to formulate an answer to these questions;

Phase 3. Co-creation of instruments for data collection

The objectives of this step are to:

  1. Critically think about and decide upon which data collection methods (in-depth interview, desk research, focus group, workshop) are most suitable and feasible to collect the data;
  2. Decide which methodology (e.g. the use of a timeline) will be used during data collection;
  3. Draft interview guides, workshop or focus group protocols, questionnaires, etc. which translate the different questions from the “reporting template” into questions to be asked the different respondents.

Phase 4. Data collection

In this step data are collected by qualitative research methods such as in-depth interviewing and focus groups.

Phase 5. Data analysis and reporting

In this last step, the “reporting template” has to be filled in, based upon the collected data. For this, the individual interviews and focus groups have to be analysed in order to answer all the questions of the “reporting template”.