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Tensions of evaluating innovation in a living lab: Moving beyond actionable knowledge production

Dekker, R; Geuijen, K; Oliver, C; (2021) Tensions of evaluating innovation in a living lab: Moving beyond actionable knowledge production. Evaluation 10.1177/1356389021997848. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Generative experimentation is increasingly used in public policymaking, especially in response to wicked policy problems. A policy solution is refined within its context and informed by feedback from its users. Studies reporting on these approaches, however, rarely consider the role of evaluation and the nature and goals of knowledge produced. This article addresses evaluation in such contexts. We present a case study of a living lab that combined theory-driven and developmental evaluation, and, responding to contradictory pressures, aimed to generate both actionable and academic knowledge to improve asylum seeker reception. We describe how we addressed these diverging demands and the resulting tensions in a politically charged and substantively insecure policy context. We conclude that evaluation should be an explicit part of the broader design concept, and while generative experimenting can produce actionable learning, evaluation should also aim for academic learning, in a manner that is both democratic and robust.

Type: Article
Title: Tensions of evaluating innovation in a living lab: Moving beyond actionable knowledge production
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1356389021997848
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/1356389021997848
Language: English
Additional information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: developmental evaluation, generative experimenting, living lab, policy design, theory-driven evaluation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121227
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