In progress from 01-03-2007 to 31-10-2007
Project manager: Michael Ornetzeder
Communication activity, Environment, Environmental technology, Expert-based, Innovation, Public participation, Stakeholder involvement
Open Innovation: Instruments and Strategies for the involvement of users and other relevant social groups in the design process: the example of fuel cell technology in end-user markets and wood-plastic composites
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A huge number of ecological as well as conventional products fail on the market because of lacking costumer's acceptance. This situation can partly be explained by the fact that in conventional innovation processes the ideas and experiences of users are considered – if at all – at very late stages of development. In this stage, at the end of a long chain of decisions, substantial changes in the design are not possible any more. Such problems exist even in the case of sustainable innovation (e.g. eco-design). But positive effects for the environment can only be achieved when ecological products are successful on the market and when they are widely used. From our point of view the market success of sustainable products should rather be achieved by involving users and other relevant social groups as early as possible and by considering their ideas in the design, than by marketing campaigns in the dissemination phase. From this perspective it is of crucial importance that future innovation processes consider not only ecological criteria (like the use of renewable materials, durability, options for recycling and re-use, energy efficiency etc.) but also social aspects.
Within the project two technologies with high technological and economical potential will be selected in close co-operation with the working-group 'factory of tomorrow'. Due to the fact, that these examples will represent different phases of development, we suppose to apply two adjusted methods: a series of workshops and focus groups based on the strategy of 'Constructive Technology Assessment' (technology example in the stage of R&D), the second example will deal with already existing products which should be improved by test and feedback by selected lead-users.
Aims of the Study
The aim of this project is to develop user-centred prospects for products of the 'factory of tomorrow'. The proposed basic research project will include the exemplary implementation and subsequently the improvement of two methods especially designed for user-involvement in technological innovation ('Constructive Technology Assessment' und 'Lead-User approach'). The results of this project will significantly improve the attractiveness of sustainable products in the programme 'factory of tomorrow' for future users.
Analysis of the existing participation culture concerning the role of users and other relevant social groups within the programme 'factory of tomorrow' (evaluation-report on the technological and economical potential)
Development of user-centred prospects and criteria for sustainable technologies, products or product-service-systems (fuel cell technology in end-user markets and wood-plastic composites)
Scientific as well as practical results for the development of 'Constructive Technology Assessment' and 'Lead-user approach', documentation and recommendations for standardised methods
ITA co-operates in this project with the Centre for Social Innovation (project management), the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFF/IFZ), Fotec Forschungs- und Technologietransfer GmbH und Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH.