Energy Living Lab

Information doc: 
Joëlle Mastelic, Project Leader, Energy Living Lab, University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, TechnoPôle 3, 3960 Sierre Switzerland,, +41 27 606 90 93

The Energy Living Lab is an open innovation ecosystem dedicated to energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy in Western Switzerland. It is composed of the University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, host of the Living Lab, Chablais Agglo representing the public authorities of this French speaking region, private companies in the field of energy, together with an association of users.

The goal of the Living Lab is to empower the users of energy (citizen of the region, employees of private companies, members of the association of users...) and integrate them into the innovation process, motivating them to participate, putting the right tools in place to enable a bottom-up dialogue, and translating ideas into sustainable commercial products or services. A toolbox has been developed to propose the right method at the right time of the innovation process, adapted to the needs of different companies and public authorities (crowd-innovation, lead users, service design, ethnography...).

References and Track Record

The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Management has been conducting applied research in the field of open innovation for the past decade. Its crowd-sourcing platform – – translated into 7 languages, enables a cheap and rapid ideation phase. It has been used for numerous companies such as Romande Energie, the local energy distributor, towards the goal of developing energy efficiency services in line with the needs of their customers. The Energy Living Lab has collected more than 500 ideas and has selected 30 of them, through a process involving internal and external experts. One of these ideas, rated by a community of users, could generate a new business model for this energy company.

Chablais Agglo is conducting a large mobility project, together with the local public transportation company, (TPC) in the region. The idea is to develop physical infrastructure and adequate services necessary to help citizens in the region switch from private to public transport. The Energy Living Lab supported this effort by using a service design toolkit to visualise what could help the customers toward a better travel experience. New services will be launched by the public transportation company based on this project, including a direct line between the main towns of the region.

The Energy Living Lab has also helped farmers in the region to launch a crowd-funding project for the financing of a biogas installation. The valorisation of waste by farmers is an opportunity for them to add new revenue streams to their existing business model, while diminishing pollution generated by their activities. The role of the Energy Living Lab in this case is to be a facilitator, linking people with technical background on biogas, the Swiss biogas association, public authorities of the region supporting the project, as well as farmers, providing competences most notably in crowd-funding.

Many more companies and public authorities find it necessary to better integrate their users in the innovation process in order to develop new products, which will be adopted by the market, thus increasing social acceptance of these solutions. For further information and possible collaborations, please feel free to contact us.


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