Benjamin Lipp


Schiedel Exchange on care robotics

My research regularly informs efforts to both engage but also co-create with different actor groups. Next to talks and workshops, I have longstanding experience in organising events that facilitate co-creative interfaces between experts and publics. The aim is to engender dialogue and engagement on an equal footing grounded in practical propositions and concrete scenarios rather than in false alternatives between hype and fear. Here are two examples of engagement activities I was part of so far:

How will the care for older people look like in the future? What can robots contribute to that future? These and other questions were at the heart of the Schiedel Exchange on RobotCare in 2018. Together with an interdisciplinary panel of experts in nursing studies, robotics, and philosophy, citizens and practitioners discussed the prospects and limits of robots in care. Throughout these activities, the focus was not so much discussing abstract topics like de-humanisation or omnipotent AI. Rather, we engaged with care robotics via realistic scenarios, some prototypical, some already realised. With these concrete propositions in mind, participants discussed tangible questions, such as: How would they feel if they were in such a situation? What would they change? What do they want a robot to do? What do they expect from good care? This helped turned a discourse that usually resorts to either hyped expectations or fearful reluctance into a productive dialogue about ageing well and good care with robots.

In 2020, I organised a workshop that built on research conducted in the H2020 project SCALINGS and engaged a number of European practitioners in the domain of the Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI). PPI is heralded as an important instrument of European innovation policy. Yet, with priorities shifting towards imperatives to innovate, practitioners in the public sector are often left with tremendous challenges to satisfy both expectations to innovate and to include citizens in the process. The workshop’s aim was to discuss the prospects and limits of co-creative innovation in schemes of public procurement. It constituted a stimulating interface between practitioners’ experiences with PPI and SCALINGS reflections regarding the scalability of co-creation in the European context.

Public talk at the 2017 Munich Science Days