Integrating Employees as Consumers into Sustainability Innovation Processes (IMKoN)
- © TU Berlin
Companies as well as consumers depend on sustainability innovations for contributing to an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable economy. So far, the number of truly sustainable innovations is still limited, as is their success. Open Innovation, that is integrating e.g. customers into the innovation process, is one way to promote the development and diffusion of sustainability innovations. Plenty of research has been conducted on the integration of customers as consumers by now, yet little attention has been paid to employees in their role as consumers. But there is reason to assume that especially employees in their double role as both company members and consumers bear the potential to help advance sustainable innovations tailored to the companies’ and the consumers’ needs.
The research objective of the IMKoN project is to develop practical tools and guidelines for an improved management of sustainability innovations by analyzing types, success determinants and effects of the integration of employees as consumers (= buyers, users, disposers) into sustainability innovation processes.
In cooperation with corporate partners, sustainability innovation processes will be initiated and seen through, which will center on specifically designed multi-day innovation workshops. Various research methods will be employed, such as group discussions, interviews as well as a quantitative pre-post-employee survey.
Schedule and Funding
The project runs from April 1st 2015 to June 30st 2018. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the program “sustainable management” (in total 1.125 million EUR).
Coordination and Contact
The Department of Economic Education and Sustainable Consumption of the TU Berlin is in charge of the joint research projects coordination.
The associated partners are the TU Berlin Center for Technology and Society (Prof. Dr. Dr. Martina Schäfer) and the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Prof. Dr. Susanne Blazejewski).
Contacts at the TU Berlin are:
Prof. Dr. Ulf Schrader, 
Dipl. Soz. Wiss. Viola Muster