Designing anthropological reflection within an energy company

Authors

  • LOUISE LØGSTRUP,

    1. [Papers] has experience from working as an educational anthropologist in the strategic design company, Designit, where she has been involved in research, stakeholder involvement and concept making in cooperation with large Danish companies.
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  • MAREN MELISSA NELSON-BURK,

    1. [Artefacts] has experience of collaborating with companies interested in learning ethnographic methods to supplement their design process.
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  • WAFA SAID MOSHLEH,

    1. [Artefacts] has, as an Interaction Designer, experience of cooperating with companies and public institutions in design processes that includes development of artefacts for workshop facilitation, mock-ups for usability testing and working prototypes.
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  • WENDY GUNN

    1. [Artefacts] has extensive experience of collaborating with industry, companies and public sectors as an integral part of research and teaching.
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Abstract

The move towards a more liberalized energy market and the emergent smart grid technology has forced a Scandinavian energy company to begin rethinking the relation between themselves and private energy end users. Originally a unidirectional relationship, the present and future have potential for a more bidirectional relationship between the company and their customers. During this process the company has realized that they lack knowledge about private energy end users. The company has run a demonstration project simulating the face of the electricity smart grid in private households and has used ethnographic methods to investigate the system effect of private households’ participation. Our paper questions why this kind of approach is reproducing the unidirectional relationship instead of creating a bidirectional relationship. We propose an extension of the ethnographic approach whereby anthropological reflection is generated in the company through a flexible tangible scenario model of the bidirectional connection between the energy company and the users.

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