2022 journal article

Fostering Responsible Innovation through Stakeholder Engagement: Case Study of North Carolina Sweetpotato Stakeholders


By: K. Grieger n, S. Zarate n, S. Barnhill-Dilling n, S. Hunt n, D. Jones & J. Kuzma n

author keywords: responsible innovation; stakeholder engagement; sustainability; sweetpotatoes
Source: ORCID
Added: February 18, 2022

Stakeholder and community engagement are critical for the successful development of new technologies that aim to be integrated into sustainable agriculture systems. This study reports on an approach used to engage stakeholders within the sweetpotato community in North Carolina to understand their preferences, needs, and concerns as they relate to a new sensing and diagnostic platform. This work also demonstrates an example of real-time technology assessment that also fosters responsible innovation through inclusivity and responsiveness. Through the conduction of 29 interviews with sweetpotato stakeholders in North Carolina, we found that participants found the most value in detecting external sweetpotato characteristics, as well as the ability to use or connect to a smartphone that can be used in field. They also found value in including environmental parameters and having a Spanish language module. Most participants indicated that they were comfortable with sharing data as long as it benefited the greater North Carolina sweetpotato industry, and were concerned with sharing these data with “outside” competitors. We also observed differences and variations between stakeholder groups. Overall, this work demonstrates a relatively simple, low-cost approach to eliciting stakeholder needs within a local agricultural context to improve sustainability, an approach that could be leveraged and transferred to other local agrifood systems.