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This project aims to develop an innovative emotion-based design perspective for socially responsible innovations that are acceptable and justifiable on ethical grounds. This is important considering the emotional controversies with regard to many societal challenges related to climate change, energy and resource use, and water and food security. Emotions are commonly seen as “irrational” in decision-making. Traditional approaches aim at inducing positive responses to innovations, but they typically neglect values and moral considerations underlying emotional responses, making these approaches less effective and even ethically dubious. We propose that people’s important values predict their emotional responses to innovations, which in turn drive public acceptability. Values and emotions can therefore play a constructive role in developing socially responsible innovations. Our perspective is relevant for many sectors and different (cultural) contexts, since we examine general ethical principles and emotional processes. Therefore, we collaborate with private partners that are active in different sectors where controversial innovations are being developed. We will develop guidelines on how to incorporate values and emotions in developing socially responsible innovations. This is pivotal for developing new governance models targeting socially responsible innovations. The project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Researchers involved: dr. Nadja Contzen, dr. Goda Perlaviciute & prof. dr. Linda Steg
In collaboration with: prof. Dr. Sabine Roeser (Delft University of Technology), dr. ir. Nicole Huijts (Delft University of Technology), IHC Merwede Holding B.V., Waterbedrijf Groningen, Gemeente Groningen, Royal HaskoningDHV, De Gemeynt Coöperatie u.a., De Breed & Partners, Ballast Nedam Concessies, Nogepa & HollandBIO.

Duration: 1 July 2015 – 1 April 2019