Why Royal HaskoningDHV joined a project on emotions
Responsible Innovation. Societal challenges and solutions
Emotions in innovation processes. With his experiences as a project manager, Carl de Cock is very familiar with this subject. 'I have worked at Royal HaskoningDHV for nearly twenty years. Four years ago I stepped back from a management position and became a senior project manager. All of the projects I have been a part of since then have involved social impact or stakeholder management. I have repeatedly observed that dealing with emotions is a key success factor for finding support for a project and, when necessary, being able to make the right adjustments.'
It is exactly this experience that could prove to be very useful for Sabine Roeser's Responsible Innovation research project (see also De Correspondent [in Dutch]). De Cock: 'I am thinking about the application of new technologies, where the acceptance level in society may vary from country to country. For instance: I was involved in the tendering process for the construction of a municipal wastewater treatment installation in France using the Nereda technology. It soon became clear that our approach was the most beneficial. However, to our surprise the biggest challenge was convincing all of the parties involved that an innovative treatment technology can perform better than an existing and completely developed technique for biological purification. Although these doubts had no technical basis they initially appeared to be broadly supported by the stakeholders of the project. I have also been involved in various wind energy projects. The role of emotions in realising a broadly supported decision about these projects cannot be underestimated.'
Emotions offer opportunities
Carl de Cock
'Hard facts and figures are second nature to us at Royal HaskoningDHV, a company of engineers. And as project managers we try to assess and manage the risks of our projects as well as possible. Emotions are often seen as an uncertain factor in achieving social acceptance of innovative projects. I am convinced, however, that emotions can also offer opportunities for projects and that project success rates can increase if we succeed in realising a good framework to bring projects closer to the moral values of the stakeholder group. I think this research can help us to make a significant step forwards.'
At the conference Sabine Roeser (Delft University of Technology) and Carl de Cock (Royal HaskoningDHV) will be interviewed. They will also do some experiments with the conference participants.
A very special car parking at Katwijk aan Zee [in Dutch] recently became elected as BNA Building of the year 2016. The way Royal Haskoning designed the parking as part of the coastal landscape is a typical example of putting responsible innovations into practice.
Image: Luuk Kramer