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How to go beyond “innovation for innovation’s sake?”

Published on
12 May 2020

Mid-April, the Citizens’ Convention for Climate submitted 50 proposals to the government in order to further advance the environmental transformation process and help avoid a new crisis caused by climate change. The primary challenge lies in ensuring innovation is done not simply for its own sake, but rather for the sake of the environmental transition.

How can we prepare for the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis? How can we implement changes that offer hope for a new societal model in terms of environmental, health and economic issues? These questions were at the heart of the ambitious goals set by 150 citizens who participated in the convention. Participants were drawn from all across France and all types of background. They spent the past 6 months working on suggestions to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% before 2030 (in comparison to 1990 levels). This is the first time a panel of representative French citizens was directly involved in the preparation of new legislation. Two researchers and professors at Grenoble Ecole de Management share their insights on this process.

Carine Sebi is a professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management and an expert in the fields of economics and energy efficiency.

Increasing the rate of energy-related renovations is one of the proposals focused on by the convention as it creates jobs and saves money on energy bills. Current government indications encourage step-by-step renovations spread out over longer periods of time. The convention proposes that regulations be reinforced so that an overall renovation is required by 2040. Such a measure would be preferable in economic, energetic and technical terms.

The government should implement this proposal as of 2030 because it demonstrates the interest and acceptability on behalf of citizens for a massive investment in energy consumption renovations for housing. The Grenoble Ecole de Management Energy for Society chair currently aims to propose and test the acceptability of new energy services for coop renovations.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the convention argues for a different economic and social model that is more humane and robust. This includes a re-localization of activities to ensure our energy safety. Citizen energy communities such as Buxia Energies, Energ’Y Citoyennes, or Grési21 should inspire the convention because they meet all of the criteria for citizens to be more engaged in the energy transition, a sector that up until now was unavailable to them.

Thibault Daudigeos is a professor of management at Grenoble Ecole de Management. He is an expert on new organizational models for the transition towards a more environmentally friendly and solidary society. He is the coordinator of the Territories in Transition chair.

 

While France has just ended a difficult lockdown, nature appears to have benefited from this slowdown. But if we don’t change our current production and consumption models, this breath of fresh air will not last. To build on this slowdown, we should ask ourselves what we can draw from this experience and what we can leave behind from our “old model”.

During the lockdown, several platforms were created to coordinate new exchanges between neighbors and local businesses. These platforms are precursors to the regional services of tomorrow: local food networks, neighborhood concierge services, shared mobility, home helpers… The Territories in Transition chair launched a research program to understand and improve the governance of these platforms as well as their organizational and economic models.

The current crisis creates lots of uncertainty in terms of available resources. It will be very important to encourage behavior that combines low costs and high added value for the environment. For example, continuing to telecommute or encourage alternative mobility is an important aspect. It’s also an opportunity for tactical urbanism that will improve agility. The city of Grenoble for example suddenly added 18 kilometers of bike paths. To really meet our needs, local populations have to be involved in the decision making process. The territories in Transition chair recently created a panel of Grenoble metropolis citizens in order to test the solutions of tomorrow.

Link to the Territories in Transition chair

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    Low oil prices cause investment in renewables, biofuels and energy efficiency technologies to decrease

    The current weak price of crude oil is having an adverse impact on the amount of investment in renewables for heat generation, biofuels, and energy efficiency technologies, according to Grenoble École de Management’s Energy Market Barometer Reading.

  • Published on 08 December 2015

    Book : Making Innovation Last

    « Unlike any book in our fields, this book is explicitly cross disciplinary even as it focuses on innovation streams over time… I could not recommend this book more highly; it has the potential to be a landmark contribution” Michael L. Tushman,...

  • Published on 30 November 2015

    Making urban living sustainable

    Sustainable solutions have become crucial, but their disruptive nature remains a major barrier to their implementation. In this article, Caroline Gauthier, researcher from the Business Models Strategy team, and Bettina Gilomen, consultant in...

  • Published on 25 November 2015

    Sharing economy: an identity crisis for developing companies

    “The sharing economy offers a new economic model that disrupts traditional markets such as the automotive and hotel industries. Yet, as these new models evolve from community-based interactions to the wide-scale monetization of individual resources...

  • Published on 07 September 2015

    Energy market barometer report: the development of energy prices

    The next Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. The Paris Climate Summit, announced as one of the biggest climate negotiations in history,...

  • Published on 16 July 2015

    Research: Unraveling the Link Between Managerial Risk-Taking and Innovation - the Mediating Role of a Risk-Taking Climate

    Innovation has become a crucial factor for companies looking to maintain their competitive advantage. Yet creating innovative ideas requires a certain level of risk-taking. While research on this subject has focused primarily on risk-taking at one...

  • Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Mangement
    Published on 07 April 2015

    Barriers to Electricity Load Shift in Companies, a Survey-Based Exploration of the End-User Perspective

    Overcoming the barriers to renewable energy systems is a key challenge. In shifting from centralized fossil-fuel energy production to decentralized solar and wind energy production, countries are being forced to act on multiple fronts : flexible...

  • Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Mangement
    Published on 07 April 2015

    Recherche : Effacement de consommation électrique, pourquoi les industriels hésitent

    En acceptant de réduire leur consommation électrique lors de pics de demande, les industriels faciliteraient l'équilibrage des réseaux de distribution. Or, ils ont de solides arguments pour ne pas jouer la carte de la flexibilité. Une étude les...

  • Vincent Mangematin, Associate Dean for Corporate Relations and Research at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 17 March 2015

    Orchestrating Innovation with User Communities in the Creative Industries

    In search of continuous innovation, the digital creative industries have expanded their interactions with user communities to develop their products. This study highlights the evolution of these company-user relationships that allow for fluid...

  • Joachim Schleich, professor and energy markets experts at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 01 December 2014

    Research: Switching to energy efficient lighting : a bright idea!

    Energy efficiency policies such as the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs (and on halogen ones in the near future) have been the subject of much discussion in the last few years. The majority of the academic community predicted that new emerging...