A more environmentally conscious use of energy is on the top list of most political agendas. Large consumers of energy are attractive focal points in investments of improved sustainability in the energy policy of society. Green power has a tendency to be more fluctuant than fossil fuels and with energy grids heavily reliant on wind power – or waves, sun, water –, it might occasionally be better to increase energy consumption than to save energy, since surplus electricity currently is difficult to store. Adaption to this scenario of energy supply is generally known as flexibility. This paper presents the initiatives taken in an applied research project – FlexPower – to identify approaches in user-driven innovation (UDI) and design of organisational innovation systems (OIS) for individual larger energy consumers to comply with requirements for increased flexibility. Implementation of flexibility in large industrial contexts imposes many hitherto unknown issues where the organisation needs completely new approaches. In this study, UDI is tested as an option to change heavy industries, not pointing to particular groups in the organisation, but requesting critical and differentiated actors dispersed throughout the whole organisation to work together in new ways. UDI may not be driven by management, but by all the different actors inside the organisation, and requests sales, logistics, production, engineering, finance and health, safety and environment (HSE) function to work together. This new organisation of work with promotion of sustainability constitutes an organisational innovation system (OIS) and is expected to be a supplementary management system along with other similar management systems such as ISO9000, TQM, and others. Three perspectives of innovation are discussed: Institutional, strategic-reflexive and entrepreneurial. The answer to the question lies highly in the ability to keep and maintain the organisational attention to continuous improvement, and thus it is suggested that the OIS should be mandated through the environmental management system, e.g. ISO14000, and optionally also in the governmental regulation system of CO2 quotas.
Proceedings of the 20th Conference of the International Association for Management of Technology, 2011
flexible power; user-driven innovation; organisational innovation system; heavy industry; wind energy
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20th Conference of International Association for Management of Technology, 2011
International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT)