tisdag 2 september 2014

Crises-proofed lifestyles

One year ago the sustainability research team at my department (MID4S) handed in two applications for research grants to the Swedish Energy Agency. One of these applications, "Improved energy counseling and energy habits by Quantified Self Assisted Advisory" became fully founded and that project has just started up with my colleague Björn Hedin as the Principal Investigator (PI). The other project, "Green lifestyles for reduced energy consumption" with me as the PI was unfortunately rejected.

We thought it was a great application and in our post-rejction analysis we concluded that it couldn't have been the basic idea that was flawed but that it instead must have been the way we expressed (or failed to express) that idea in the application. When the same research program on "Energy, IT and Design" (Energi, IT, och Design) opened up for new application we quickly decided to make a new attempt. The timing was unfortunately not the best - the deadline for the application was the very first day that both of my master's level courses started... I will have to scramble to catch up during the rest of the week! Also, I sat with the application yesterday almost until the very end and submitted the application at 23.30 - barely half an hour before the deadline.

We have worked with application and made some changes but we have for the most spent our energy on more clearly clarifying and communicating the basic idea of the application. One of the changes we made was to come up with a new name for the application - it is now called "Krissäkrade livsstilar: Alternativa livsstilar som designmaterial för tjänster i ett hållbart energisystem" ("Crises-proofed lifestyles: Alternative lifestyles as design material for services in a sustainable energy system"). Another change was to emphasise our cooperation with Transition Sweden and especially our cooperation with IKEA more. The application is written in Swedish with the exception of this 1000-character project summary:

Crises-proofed lifestyles:
Alternativ lifestyles as design material for services in a sustainable energy system.

Most people today agree that it is necessary to reduce energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions. Moving from insight to action has however proven to be difficult for individuals. In this project we aim to study lead users who have chosen to proactively change their lifestyles in order to reduce their energy consumption and increase the sustainability of their daily lives. We work with interviews, ethnographic studies and with workshops to work with the material collected and to develop innovative concepts.

The project aims at "embodying" the potential for changed behaviors in the products that services that are developed. The goal is to thereby reach a larger market of "ordinary" people and give them increased possibilities of changing their energy habits, use energy more efficiently and reducing energy consumption both in Sweden and globally. With IKEA of Sweden AB as a partner, the conditions to realize these ambitions goals are excellent.

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