Natural Food: Organizing ‘Responsiveness’ in Responsible Innovation of Food Technology

  • Dirk HaenEmail author
  • Petra Sneijder
  • Hedwig te Molder
  • Tsjalling Swierstra


Responsible innovation requires mutual responsiveness between various stakeholders around technological innovation. But in public engagement exercises, concerns about ethical, cultural and political impacts are too easily set aside, so that no one is actually encouraged to discuss responsibilities for these impacts. A typical example in the field of food innovation is the consumer’s recurring concern for natural food. In discussions, both consumers and engineers tend to consider the meaning of naturalness as subjective and private. In this chapter, we present an interdisciplinary design tool for public engagement that is more hospitable to such concerns, based on the Discursive Action Method and Techno-Ethical Imagination. We describe the advancements we made and the obstacles we faced when applying this tool in two dialogue workshops on novel foods and naturalness.


Responsiveness Food technology Naturalness Soft concerns Stakeholder dialogue Conversation analysis Techno-ethical imagination 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Haen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Petra Sneijder
    • 2
  • Hedwig te Molder
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tsjalling Swierstra
    • 1
  1. 1.Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Wageningen University and Research CentreWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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