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Reflection and design of innovation processes in cluster projects to develop sustainable technologies for mobility (Project no. 19B9923A)

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Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport policies
Deployment planning/Financing/Market roll-out


Background & Policy context

Transport problems in urban areas became an important policy area. Politicians start many initiatives that aim at solving the relationship between city and transport. A special challenge is to develop approaches in this field where stakeholders after all seem to hold incompatible positions. Isolated approaches that aim at optimizing individual systems or tools for transport management will consequently fail. How is moderating the diverse stakeholders, positions and ideas supposed to work and foster innovations or lead to the exploitation of potential room for maneuvers?


The project REKONZIL deals with the question whether mobility policies and especially the cooperation between different players can be shaped so that innovative and sustainable approaches develop. For illustrative purposes we deal with the project networks MOBINET (Munich) and WAYflow (Rhine-Main area), which are part of the research program “Mobilität in Ballungsräumen” (mobility in urban areas) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
These two project networks aim at tackling transport problems in an innovative way and are composed of partners that are public authorities and also private organizations. Special is the respective diverse constellation of companies, service providers, research institutes, consultants, transport operators and public authorities. This diverse mix of players should not only enable the development but also the implementation of innovative approaches. Both research projects are very complex. Integrative solutions are desired that links the sub-projects also with external approaches.


For us the term “heteroplexity” is a phenomenom that has not been considered sufficiently yet. It is new in terms of the conditions developed during the lead projects. Literature does not really consider it. We investigate in three different directions in an experimental way. This is not a presentation of “canned knowledge”:

-       The first step includes programmatic and conceptional changes in transport
         policies und based on this a new reflexive behavior pattern called
         “heteroplexity”. As mentioned, it has not fully been developed but based on the
         emperic material obtained, it could be characterized ideal-typically.

-       The second step dealt with developing a theoretical framework enabling the
        analysis of heteroplex project contexts

-       The third step was about formulating recommended actions in terms of how 
         under heteroplex conditions, innovations to large, heteroplex and complex
         project scenarios are possible and can be supported.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Research agency
Institution Name
Akademie Rheinland GmbH, PT MVBW - on behalf of Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry of Education and Research


The following recommended actions consider the organization of heteroplex innovation projects:

-       a large number of partners

-       a heterogenous constitution of the project partners

-       abstract objectives

-       innovative approaches are needed to achieve the objectives

-       the project work includes several areas/branches

-       the project is at least partially funded by public authorities

Further necessities are:

-       Selecting partners only, if essential

-       Precise goal and project definition

-       Development of approaches

-       Agreeing on project concept and framework

Recommended actions for those involved in the project:

-       The project identification and preparation phase are the most important phases
         of the whole project

-       The success of the project depends on one or a few central persons

-       The members of the teams or networks should be selected according to conten
         and personality-based criteria

-       The share of costs to be calculated with for things beyond the direct goal
         achievement are generally larger than expected

-       Incentive systems are needed for the intensive and proactive work on the 
         project of all partners

-       Team activities that enhance social coherence and an identification with the 
         project goals are as important as the content-based work

-       Good communication with the public at large is the more needed the more the
         public could be affected by the project works/ results

-       Complex projects demand for a “self-learning” and “self-deciding” project

-       The workplace and work methods need to be adequate for the content of the

-       Customized communication systems are demande by complex innovation

-       Experienced project teams are needed and the project management and the
         works on the content have to be separated

-       Different task may require professionals/ experts

-       Functional conflicts and certain times for reflections are desired

-       Information systems for those funding the project have to be developed and
         they should participate in the reflection times

Recommended actions for grant authorities:

-       The magnitude of innovative projects cannot be an end in itself but a purposeful
         composition based on the vision and objectives

-       Many innovation projects are new in terms of the way it is cooperated. This has
         to be fostered

-       Smaller and more flexible projects may be more efficient than big projects with
         a large consortium of partners

-       Networking projects with similar topics makes sense

-       The project finding and preparation phases should be funded substantially

-       Also large projects should have flexible plans

-       Flexible resource planning makes sense and should be integrated in the realm of
         responsibilty of the projects themselves

-       Innovation projects should be fault-friendly

-       Evaluating the work processes of innovation projects is as important as
         evaluating their results

-       Appropriate measures should ensure a relationship of trust between the grant
         authorities and the grantees

Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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