While consumers are at the heart of the innovation problematic they are today largely excluded from the process of developing new products and services. The opinion of consumers is sought before or after the innovation process but inclusion in the actual development comes up against several major obstacles. Given the numbers of false or alleged innovations rapidly rejected by the market it appears that the key to anticipating demand and creating TRUE innovation might lie in a closer and more active relationship between corporate people and consumers. Thus the example of public consensus conferences held in several European countries show great potential. By creating the conditions for open and constructive debate between groups normally separated by language purpose and expertise (citizens scientists authorities) such conferences have allowed consumers to be brought back into the processes of evaluation and complex decision-making thus enabling and empowering them in areas previously the preserve of experts.