Societal Anchoring Analysis


Use for

Exploring what might be needed to make a socio-technological innovation more robust for later application.


Developers of technology have assumptions about the future use of technological innovations. They are often implicit. By helping the developer to ascertain and test assumptions you can make him better prepared for the process of social anchoring of the innovation.

What do you do?

Societal Anchoring Analysis method (in Dutch: Maatschappelijke Inbeddingsanalyse - MIA) reveals assumptions about the future environment in which the innovation will be anchored. It is an interactive method in which the developer of the innovation explores the past, present and possible futures of the innovation together with you and perhaps a second interviewer. The method consists of four steps:

In step 1 you ask the developer to describe one or more desired futures in which the innovation is widely anchored in a practice or in society. He or she also outlines the current situation. These sketches contain information about the wider context, such as political conditions, legislation, market structure, infrastructure and the characteristics of the users and producers.

In step 2 the developer compares the current situation and desired future situations and identifies the differences and similarities. You ask the developer to say how quickly he or she thinks the changes could occur. You also ask him or her to explain what roles the various current and future actors will have to perform to achieve the change.

In step 3 you consult external experts to check the assumptions, for example via the internet or through interviews, in order to gain an impression of what is likely or still uncertain.

In step 4 you specify the uncertainties, opportunities and bottlenecks for the innovation, preferably together with the developer. You also discuss with the developer the possibilities he or she has to influence or to monitor relevant events. Step 4 can also lead to changes in the innovation.

Related method: the method is related to the ESTEEM method.


The method is mainly intended for actors in research and development. The method works best under the following circumstances:

  • the interviewer does not have a deep knowledge of the innovation and generally asks questions from a broad perspective that force the interviewee to reflect carefully
  • the interviewee is open to the method and to reflecting on the possible strengths and weakness of his technology.

More information

The method is based on Poti, S. Raman, A. Rip, G.J. Schaeffer (2002.: Final Report of the Socrobust Project, (supported by the EU TSER Programme, and was adapted in the project 'Create acceptance'.

Used by

Among other: Ruth Mourik, DuneWorks