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Participatory product development – examples from three energy suppliers

The authors discuss goals, challenges and methods for integrating users in innovation processes. They present potentials and advantages of user integration. User integration e.g. helps to increase usability and user-friendliness. Moreover, it may foster learning processes among participating users and company members that may lead to an empowerment of users. Additionally, user integration contributes to developing more ecological or sustainable products and services.

The authors present examples of innovation workshops involving users and company members: Three energy utilities conducted two workshops with users. The workshop topics were electro mobility, home energy management systems or battery storages. The examples show that users can contribute to developing and to assessing ideas for energy services. From this experience, the authors derive recommendations on how to conduct innovation workshops with users.