The project combines proven methods of transdisciplinary research with new approaches of online-based innovation indicators. It will build on relevant innovation and sustainability transition research by conceptualizing peer innovation and distinguishing it from related innovation modes such as open innovation, user innovation and social innovation. At the same time, survey methods, indicators and analytical procedures of empirical innovation research are questioned with regard to their suitability for measuring peer innovation and an overview of new empirical approaches is developed.
Promising methods for recording peer innovation are tested and developed in three empirical case studies. The possibilities are explored to make use of the digital footprints of the peer communities. For these studies it is first necessary to identify relevant peer networks and their communication channels. In three fields of action of sustainability, qualitative methods of actor analysis and new digital tools of social network analysis are combined to identify relevant developer communities and their interaction platforms. The online communication will be analysed by means of web-scraping and text-mining to generate data for innovation research.
Our experiences with the application of these methods in the case studies will summarized and mirrored with practical actors. An evaluation workshop with experts from the research and developer communities will put the general suitability, transferability and meaningful interpretation of the proposed indicators to question. The project team then prepares a selection of suitable instruments for capturing peer innovations as a toolbox and makes them available online.