Four paradoxes of the user-provider interface: A responsible innovation framework for sea ice services

Berill Blair*, Olivia A. Lee, Machiel Lamers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the Arctic region, sea ice retreat as a decadal-scale crisis is creating a challenging environment for navigating long-term sustainability. Innovations in sea ice services can help marine users to anticipate sea ice concentration, thickness and motion, plan ahead, as well as increase the safety and sustainability of marine operations. Increasingly however, policy makers and information service providers confront paradoxical decision-making contexts in which contradictory solutions are needed to manage uncertainties across different spatial and temporal scales. This article proposes a forward-looking sea ice services framework that acknowledges four paradoxes pressuring sea ice service provision: the paradoxes of performing, contradictory functions embedded in sea ice services, contradicting desired futures and the paradox of responsible innovation. We draw on the results from a multi-year co-production process of (sub)seasonal sea ice services structured around scoping interviews, workshops and a participatory scenario process with representatives of marine sectors, fishers, hunters, metservice providers, and policy experts. Our proposed framework identifies institutionalized coproduction processes, enhanced decision support, paradoxical thinking and dimensions of responsible innovation as tactics necessary to address existing tensions in sea ice services. We highlight the role of socio-economic scenarios in implementing these tactics in support of responsible innovation in sea ice social-ecological systems. The article concludes with a discussion of questions around equity and responsibility raised by the ultimate confirmation that enhanced information, data infrastructures, and service provisions will not benefit all actors equally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number448
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2020


  • Climate change
  • Responsible innovation
  • Sea ice services
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Four paradoxes of the user-provider interface: A responsible innovation framework for sea ice services'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this