Sustainable Innovations in LivingLabs – An Analysis of the Potentials of a German Research Infrastructure for the Interactive Development of Resource Efficient, Environment Protecting and Socially Responsible Products and Services

  • Project no.3435
  • Duration 08/2011 - 08/2012

Many product and service innovations with high sustainability potentials fail due to a lack of user acceptance, trigger negative rebound effects through unexpected user behaviours, or are applied incorrectly. Designing interactive value chains via user-integrated product and service development offers starting points for the development of solution strategies and scenarios regarding specific and applicable sustainability innovations.

Therefore, the project aims at determining the potential contribution of implementing such an approach in so-called "NachhaltigkeitsLivingLabs" (NLL, "sustainability living labs") - these are labs respectively research institutions that focus on the user-centred development and testing of sustainable products and services in order to generate successful sustainability innovations. Based on this, development measures for a German research infrastructure integrating usage-related work and life contexts in sustainable product development will be derived. The solution approaches are supposed to significantly foster resource efficiency in the production and consumption system, without these advantages being neutralised by so-called rebound effects - that is the effect of an actually more efficient product or service causing an increase in usage (of e.g. resources) directly or indirectly.

The following specific objectives are envisaged:

  • To analyse the German research and development (R&D) landscape in terms of suitable starting points for interactive and systematic research on product and service use in domestic and workplace environments and their sustainability implications and to create a profile of the corresponding status quo (Review WP1),
  • to identify fields (technologies, products, services) in which the use of NLL shows particularly high sustainability potential; to conceptually highlight - in alignment with European and international activities - conditions for an innovation-oriented, internationally integrated and competitive German R&D infrastructure (Potential analysis WP2),
  • to conduct a continuous strategic dialogue with relevant actors in order to develop an integrated opportunity / risk profile for the implementation of NLL and to network players from the fields of research, business and society regarding the topic of NLL (Strategic dialog WP3), and
  • to identify courses of action based on a cross-evaluation of project results, which will be conducted via a SWOT-analysis (Synthesis WP4).

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