Technology and Knowledge

Open Innovation

Open Innovation

Many ecological products fail due to a low acceptance of potential users. A main reason for this is that the interests and experiences of customers (private ones or companies) are only taken into consideration (if at all) at a very late stage; i.e. in a phase in which no substantial product changes seem feasible in general. This deficit relates also to development processes of explicitly environmental friendly innovations (for instance in the field of eco-design). However, a relevant impact of a sustainable and environment friendly product policy can only be achieved through a sufficient high diffusion and exploitation rate of such products. In our (ideal) view, the necessary market success for such products should not be realised in first instance through increasing marketing efforts or public subsidies, but rather through its specific user value and user acceptance defined by the potential users themselves already in course of the product development process. Under this perspective it is important to consider in future also social aspects (access of different user groups; early involvement of users in product development processes) in addition to ecological aspects (use of sustainable resources; long durability; ability to recycle; energy efficiency etc.).

The project dealt with two signposting technologies (fuel-cell technologies and wood-plastic-composites). Since these examples seem to refer to two different stages of development, we recommended the implementation of two differing participation processes: one oriented towards constructive technology assessment (CTA) (for technologies in early stages) and one which starts at a latter stage (lead-user approach, when first results are already available).

The objective of this project was the development of user-centred perspectives for products of the fabric of the future. Under this scientific project two already tested international strategies (CTA and lead-user-model) designed to include users in innovation processes were applied and further elaborated. The results contributed to a significant increase of the attraction of selected sustainable product groups from the programme fabric of the future.


Section: Technology and Knowledge

No partners added yet


Type: Research

Program: Fabrik der Zukunft

Project Status: Finished

Project Duration: 27 months

Start/End: 01/2006 - 03/2008