Since its inception, the EU-InnovatE project has aimed to gain a deeper and broader understanding of the active roles of end users and entrepreneurs in sustainability innovation processes, with a special emphasis on the four domains featured in SPREAD 2050: Food, Living, Mobility, and Energy.
With this in mind, our overall approach has been to proceed from an investigation of the state-of-the-art, in which the major role of consumers is seen in the adoption of novel (sustainable) products and services, developed by companies and driven by marketing activities. We have then explored the roles of end users and entrepreneurs in wider innovation systems, the boundary conditions which enable and enhance their activities and impacts, and their anticipated influence on sustainable lifestyles in the 4 domains above.
The complexity of such an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary study has called for a range of methods and methodologies, which are clearly indicated in the research design graphic below:
Qualitative approaches to data collection, analysis and interpretation have been employed to explore new and emerging research fields (e.g. user entrepreneurship) – complemented by quantitative data collection methods, including surveys, archival data, forecasts and experiments.
Last, but by no means least, EU-InnovatE has adopted a participatory research approach throughout, seeking to go beyond doing research on stakeholders, but rather doing research with stakeholders. We have actively integrated end users, companies, policy-makers, and experts in a kind of “co-creative” research process across all work packages.