Participatory TA procedures for the Bundestag

New methods report presents innovative participation procedures and discusses their potential benefits for parliamentary TA
TAB report on innovative and participative methods of technology assessment

Since its inception, parliamentary technology assessment (TA) has used participatory procedures to incorporate as much knowledge and different perspectives as possible in its analyses of scientific and technological change and its societal consequences. Strengthening the social dialogue by means of participatory procedures appears to be urgently needed, since questions of impact assessment of technical innovation are repeatedly at the center of considerable differences of opinion in society. The current TAB report (available only in German as TAB-Arbeitsbericht Nr. 192) presents selected innovative participation procedures and discusses their potential benefits for parliamentary TA in the German Bundestag.

Nine innovative procedures were selected for the TAB work report and examined with regard to objectives and prerequisites, procedural sequence, time and cost expenditure, and their potential use for TAB's work for the German Bundestag. The following potential benefits were decisive for the treatment of a participatory procedure in the TA study:

  • the embedding of current expert or technical knowledge around scientific-technical developments;
  • the integration of experiential and design knowledge, especially from citizens;
  • a translation of scientific findings into political options for action for the German Bundestag.

The selected innovative methods include argument mapping with online support, barcamp, data donation or data sharing, design fiction, digital collaboration, participatory modeling, real-time Delphi, social media data analysis, and trend maps. These methods each pursue different goals and structure or organize social dialogue in a variety of ways. However, they all allow for a largely open-topic approach to both different disciplinary and societal perspectives.

The application of the methods is discussed with reference to current topics of scientific and technological change and thus to the immediate practice of parliamentary TA. In this practice-oriented compendium, the authors Michaela Evers-Wölk, Diego Dametto, Carolin Kahlisch, Britta Oertel and André Uhl provide not only a comprehensive description of the procedures but also a compact overview in the form of fact sheets. The report is thus a helpful handbook for the selection and use of innovative participatory procedures, which can be referred to in the further work of the German Bundestag as well as TAB.

The TAB report is available online (only in German).