Product development in the transitioning German energy market: Introducing an integrative innovation process with eco-design and strategic foresight. : Process model and implications for the technical product development unit of WEMAG

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekologi


Scientific studies on the advantages of environmental management and futures research integration have been increasingly published during the last years. WEMAG, a traditional German energy provider, aims to benefit from the energy market transition by offering innovative and sustainable energy solutions. However, the whole industry lacks experience with innovation management and beyond that also lacks knowledge on how to integrate eco-design and strategic foresight. Currently, theoretical contributions do not provide practice-relevant and interdisciplinary solutions due to a research gap on integrative perspectives of innovation, environmental and futures research streams and applied research approaches. This thesis is a first attempt to bridge the research gap and to provide a practice-relevant concept by introducing an integrative innovation process model, which benefits from eco-design and strategic foresight. Following an applied design theory methodology, requirements for the new process model-building are derived from literature review and qualitative insights from company material scanning, interviews and a workshop. The results show that integrating eco-design and strategic foresight into innovation management on a strategy and process level offers major advantages for managerial practice, especially in uncertain environments. It provides the opportunity to explore future developments while having normative guidance towards environmentally-friendly solutions, which also provide unique advantages for market positioning and succesful competition. 

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