This article presents the insights from an evaluation of a transformative policy experiment, in the food domain, conducted at the Swedish Agency of Innovation (Vinnova). To be consistent with the principles and objectives of these policies, it was necessary to implement a formative evaluation approach developed in the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC), that is supportive of experimental policies designed for highly complex and uncertain environments. The article presents the main characteristics of this approach and its differences and similarities with other proposals to assess transformative innovation policies. Next, the article describes how the evaluation was conducted in Vinnova during a 2-year engagement. Subsequently, the main insights gleaned from the process are highlighted in terms of (1) understanding the expectations of actors; (2) what has been learned by doing, from a technical and organizational point of view; and (3) the constraints that emerged during the engagement. It is then argued that the TIPC- formative evaluation approach challenges the role of evaluators, stretching them, and requires different attitudes from those that are common in evaluation practice.
Evaluating transformative innovation policy in a formative way: Insights from Vinnova’s food mission experiment
Alejandra Boni, Diana Velasco, Jordi Molas-Gallart, Johan Schot