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The exnovative method as innovation from within 
Jessica Mesman (Maastricht University)
Suyin Hor (University of Technology Sydney)
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Willemine Willems (VU)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

In this panel we explore methodological questions around identifying and explicating how professionals and others accomplish to navigate complex situations. We welcome contributions that address diverse approaches that aim to bring these implicit and often invisible strength of practices into view.

Long Abstract:

There is a rich tradition in the field of Science and Technology Studies that revolves around the close – often ethnographic – study of complex and diverse practices. Closely studying how in practice rail- and waterways are maintained and governed, how patient-doctor interactions unfold in the consultation room, and how in conservation practices challenging decision-making is tackled, we have gained in-depth and often surprising understanding of how various professionals and others navigate tensions and conflicts. These types of studies have shown for example that routines and interactions are imbued with moral or evaluation repertoires, and that ontologies are multiple. The common denominator in these studies is a concern with how collaboration is accomplished amidst a plurality of perspectives, knowledges, priorities and /or moralities. In this regard, they are distinct from evaluation methods commonly used in organizations that typically focus on either the outcomes of processes or on failures and breakdowns. “Exnovation”, or “innovation from within” directs our attention to highlighting and harnessing the ecological power of existing practices – in situ, and in action. Methodologically, by creating spaces for transformative learning through dialogic reflective practices, research can allow the hidden strengths of existing practices to be illuminated, learned, and strengthened collectively, increasing the potential for practice optimization and academic comprehension.

Many STS researchers focus on the invisible and implicit strength of current practices in-action. We welcome papers about studies that have such a focus, regardless of whether the term exnovation is used. The focus of the panel is methodological: how to identify and explicate ‘forgotten’ competencies and resources protect what works well and to further improve practice at hand? What technical or theoretical devices enable scholarly and professional participants to see, understand, and reflect anew upon the informal logics of how they work?

Accepted papers:

Session 1