Intervening Through Futures for Sustainable Presents: Scenarios, Sustainability, and Responsible Research and Innovation

  • Lauren Withycombe KeelerEmail author
  • Michael J. Bernstein
  • Cynthia Selin
Part of the Technikzukünfte, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft / Futures of Technology, Science and Society book series (TEWG)


Discourses around innovation often unreflexively assume positive progress and the inevitable contribution of new technologies to the betterment of society. Little attention is paid to issues of sustainability—including intergenerational equity, justice, and socio-ecological integrity—and the complex ways that societal arrangements and sociotechnical regimes are intermingled. Innovation governance for sustainability needs to actively engage both responsible research and innovation and sustainability paradigms in order for science and technology to effectively serve societal and sustainability goals. There is an opportunity to utilize tools of foresight to raise the capacity of actors in innovation processes to consider alternative framings of progress and challenge the status quo. This chapter explores participatory scenario construction as a means to productively disrupt status-quo imaginaries. The Future of Wastewater Sensing, a participatory scenario study, is presented as a case example to inform sustainability-oriented responsible research and innovation.



This research was undertaken with support by the Center for Nanotechnology in Society of Arizona State University (CNS-ASU), funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (cooperative agreement #0531194 and #0937591). The findings and observations contained in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lauren Withycombe Keeler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Bernstein
    • 1
  • Cynthia Selin
    • 2
  1. 1.School for the Future of Innovation in SocietyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School for the Future of Innovation in Society & School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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