Fostering Sustainable Consumption by Integrating Users into Sustainability Innovations

Sustainability innovations such as passive houses or vehicles with environmentally-friendly propulsion systems generally constitute niche products in their respective markets. 'User integration' could enhance awareness of such products and increase their acceptance among a broader public. This is the starting point of and fundamental idea behind the NaNu! research project.
The term 'user integration' means including future customers and users in the innovation process on a targeted basis - from the initial idea all the way to the innovation's introduction and diffusion in the marketplace. Incorporating potential customers into the planning and development of innovative, sustainable products and services offers a number of advantages: Asking future users about their needs and taking these needs and the costumer circles that will eventually use the particular innovation into consideration at an early stage increases the likelihood that the final product will be accepted and successfully spread in the marketplace. Additionally, using this approach also makes it possible to ascertain the social-ecological effects of sustainable consumption at an early point in time.