How end-users accelerate new technology

By Marianne Ryghaug, Professor in Science and Technology Studies, NTNU 2. October 2017

The success of new technological advancements to a large degree depends on the perceptions and practices of the end-users. That is why INVADE is important.

Through research, development, innovation and implementation, new technologies will become part of the everyday lives and everyday dynamics of end-users.

However, the success of such technological advancements to a large degree depends on the perceptions and practices of end-users and the user engagement with the new technologies and systems.


Accelerating technology

To understand social, cultural and behavioural barriers and opportunities associated with the implemented technologies and to determine best practice implementation and future user involvement strategies, it is necessary to monitor and analyse user practices and behaviour, as we will do in the INVADE project.

Technologies are seldom fixed, stable, or immutable entities, but rather acquire specific meanings and forms of use as they are adapted to household situations, and as they, in turn, influence pre-existing household dynamics.

This is important, as technologies must align with pre-existing routines, practices, identities, and values if they are to be accepted.

Thus, by studying end-users we get insight into changes that take place with respect to human beliefs and actions, as well as with respect to technology and the material environment. This is important, as technologies must align with pre-existing routines, practices, identities, and values if they are to be accepted.


Why Quadruple Helix?

Transition towards a low carbon energy system is going to be comprehensive and demanding. Without a constructive engagement of the public the transition is likely to fail or to be too slow. Therefore, the role the citizens or end-users play in this transition and how they are understood, is very important.

Marianne Ryghaug, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

The traditional understanding of the public has proven to be problematic and out of sync with the developments in our energy systems. Until quite recently it has been common to think of energy users as customers, consumers and as passive actors in the market, or passive recipients of technologies that exist in the outskirt of a rather centralized energy system. While traditional research on energy consumption – if at all – has focused on end-users as barriers, the goal must be to go beyond a simplistic antagonism between user and technology.

This points to a need to include the public and end-users when researching processes of technological innovation, policy development and implementation, since end-users often have been neglected in these processes.

It also points to the need to go beyond the Triple Helix innovation model, that focuses on university-industry-government relations, and instead focus on the Quadruple Helix, which adds as a fourth helix; the culture-based public or civil society.


Society trends and enablers

The gradual shift from centralized and fossil-based production to more decentralized, distributed systems based on renewables, will potentially integrate electricity production into everyday life.

This means that new types of interaction between traditional energy suppliers and customers might be created and their roles may become much more hybridized.

To be able to go from passive users, or mere customers, to participating citizens we must think differently about how to engage users and communities towards new low carbon energy technologies.

One suggestion is to avoid simplistic and reductionist understanding of users, and look more deeply into how to create energy citizenship and to create more inclusive energy dialogues within and between different energy cultures and types of end-users.


Social media

INVADE updates

@INVADEH2020 : Can energy storage change traditional energy businesses? Oh Yes! Check out poster presented by @Iliana_Iliev at… ( - 1 week ago)

@polivros : RT @polivros: The new role of DSOs includes #LocalMarkets and #LocalFlexibilityMarkets. They understand that the citizen must be at the cen… ( - 1 week ago)

@INVADEH2020 : Two more posters from @CIREDevents presented by @Guru_Chela from @NCESmart and @dagfinnwaa from @LyseAS ( - 1 week ago)

@INVADEH2020 : Our partners: @rgallartf from @Estabanell and @polivros from @la_UPC showcasing the INVADE Spanish Pilot at… ( - 1 week ago)

@INVADEH2020 : Join the @EUhorizon2020 INVADE Conference 2018 in Oslo! The event will explore how stationary batteries and “batter… ( - 1 week ago)

@INVADEH2020 : Join the Invade Conference 2018: Smart Business of Batteries – Trends & Opportunities! The event takes place in Oslo on October 10th, and will explore how stationary batteries and “batteries on wheels” can be used to optimize energy in order to solve challenges and create new possibilities. Read more and sign up: ( - 1 week ago)

@polivros : RT @polivros: Proud to present the initial results of @INVADEH2020 in the @CIREDevents workshop in #Ljubljana during the #SetmanaEnergia. T… ( - 1 week ago)

@polivros : RT @polivros: @INVADEH2020 consortium is today in Oslo discussing on the project progress #H2020Energy #EnergyTransition… ( - 2 weeks ago)

@polivros : RT @polivros: Amazing! Smart charging solutions from @INVADEH2020 will be tested in Norway by @LyseAS because they need them! From @Energy4… ( - 2 weeks ago)

@polivros : RT @polivros: @JMGlachant @CRE_energie Cloud-based solutions like @INVADEH2020 and others will be the game changer! ( - 2 weeks ago)