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12: Energiewende – Empowering Consumers

Breakout / Working Group
english language

A new Enlightenment means that our world view on energy will have to change – changes that we knew we would have to take even before the climate conference in Paris. However, who will be the driving force behind these changes? And does that mean that consumers will become more powerful? Under the keyword “Energiewende”, the breakout session “Empowering consumers” of the Climate and Energy Fund will discuss with international experts how the transition process to a new enlightened energy world can move ahead and what role innovative technologies can play.


Chief Corporate Development and Communication Officer, Vice CEE Group, Vienna Abstract
Initially I would like to take a glance at the automotive sector, which is in the middle of a substantial transformation process due to a significant innovation - or better: disruption - ahead: the self-driving car.
But will the self-driving car be the ingenious work of German engineering or more some sort of software product? Are its product designers going to turn to the "back in the future-"car Delorean for inspiration or to the design and user experience of an iPhone or an app?
With greater likelihood it will be the latter. Not the engine but the user will be in the center.
As we can learn from the technology life cycle model, after a period of innovation and early adopters, you need to increase user experience and marketing to gain market shares and finally reach the level of mature technology. The user experience will be key, a lot of data will be necessary but also be collected (and analyzed). The internet connection of the car will be as crucially important as fuel.
And maybe, the entertainment system and the brand-specific content offered for it may be a requirement for selection similar to special editions and collaborations when it comes to the design.
The world famous German engineering skills and their sophisticated features for people we call "Benzinbrüder" are becoming a niche passion.
So, the first lesson we can learn from the digital perspective: It's not about deploying sophisticated tech features, just because we are able to build them. It's about the best possible user experience. The users' emotions, motivations, perceptions and values are given as much or even more attention than efficiency and effectiveness. Fun fact: Henry Ford once was a pioneer also in terms of user experience.
Obviously digital products are most often not a market pull but rather a technology push. In the case of renewable energy there is a mature technology on one side and high transaction cost to change to a new, less mature technology on the other. To sell a product nobody really needs in the first hand, a company's survival depends on triggering a craving from the customer. They need to become a so called love brand.
Companies from VIPP, the Danish luxury garbage can to Oreo, the cookie, managed to become a love brand, same as technology brands like TESLA, or the idea of HYPERLOOP.
They used various approaches like hero stories (Elon Musk and TESLA, Hyperloop), beautiful design and pics (VIPP), social media (and sugar: Oreo) to spark our interest, convince or inspire us.
And thus they started conversations. And as the cluetrain manifesto pointed out in 1999: Markets are conversations. And conversations among human beings should also sound human.
The key is not to sound like a technocrat or a governmental department - even if you are one.
TESLA is at the moment one of the best examples on how to create a love brand with the help of a hero story, the seduction through anticipation and ephemeral marketing. Future customers, actual customers and investors are very engaged with the brand despite its many fails and accidents.
In the daily battle for attention, love-brand companies decided to contribute to culture and conversation and add value through stories. As a brand you'll have to invest before you can make a withdrawal.
What you can get out of it: Attention of the customer/user asking: "What's in it for me?"
Can "digital participation" really influence the practical application?
Though digital participation can rarely replace a real life experience, it can offer more attention, reach and also trigger more emotions within the customer journey and thus result in better (perceived) customer relationship. Strategic content marketing can reduce the complexity of information about products.
Reviews and online recommendations can influence decision making.
And even though digital participation will not make any actual product problems vanish, the right tonality addressing them can help your cause. Conversations around your brand will happen and you should be part of it.
Analyze and Learn
Assumed that digital channels can help us to accomplish goals, how do we use the manifold numbers?
We talk so much about vision and strategy, but when it comes to numbers and measuring our efforts and investments, we tend to take the numbers that are easy to get instead of numbers that really count.
So, are clicks and likes the hard currency of success in our digital strategy? Of course not. They help us to find out if postings, pictures, campaigns and measures are working out technically and as from the communicative perspective. Some of them, btw, are just misleading, as most of the numbers measuring the hyped mobile display ads. But what really counts, is the chance to recognise a pattern through analysing qualitative or quantitative data, maybe a pattern we and the users were unaware of.
Or we just see clicks and likes as feedback, opinion research without socially desirable behaviour pattern.
And sometimes maybe a single click is the first step of new relationship which starts a conversation with your future customer.
Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education, Economy, and Vice Dean, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna Abstract
The knowledge about behavioral economics and economic psychology put the classical economic assumptions about the behaviour patterns of people under threat. Rationality and the (egoistic) maximisation of profits portray an exception rather than the rule in complex decisions. This does not mean that a-rational decisions are necessarily bad in these cases. In fact sometimes a "nudge" - a push - is justified in order to motivate people to behave in their own interests.
Thaler and Sunstein (2008) emphasise that people let themselves be easily influenced, quickly lose the overview and tend towards lethargy. By using the skillful measures of a "stub", "decision architects" can just give a "nudge" that invokes sensible behaviour without limiting the freedom of the individual: Instead of directing paternalistically what needs to be done or refrained from doing, the way to a better choice can be demonstrated, or even contrary behaviour allowed, in a "libertarian-paternalistic" way.
If people are lethargic, the options in many areas of life can be set in such a way that standard, sensible actions are envisaged but the freedom of choice to do the opposite also exists by means of a so-called opt-out rule. If a company pension is viewed as being sensible and a business doubles the regular saving amount of an employee then a standard specification could be automatically introduced for the saving amounts of all employees. Those who oppose it can also decide against it.
People often orientate themselves on the behaviour of others. If social norms are the behavioural guidelines then the report that most taxpayers pay their taxes honestly and punctually could result in more cooperation with the state than the report that some persons and companies hold back their taxes or use all possible tricks to reduce their tax bills. Also the feedback about the energy consumption of an economical household and the difference between the own household to the standard of the "best" can be effective as a behavioural guideline and reduce the energy consumption in private households.
People eventually respond to favours that are provided for them. The universally applicable rule of reciprocity can be used by decision architects to reduce the usage of hand towels in hotels. As an example, hotel guests could be informed that on average guests use their towels for more than one day and furthermore that for every continued use of the towels, the hotel donates a specific amount of money to charitable purposes and the cooperation of the guest is requested.
Those responsible in business and politics have the possibility of using the knowledge about behavioural economics and economic psychology and are able to design decision and action situations so that they are profitable for everyone. However, instead of for the wellbeing of the community, customers can also be "nudged" towards the maximisation of profits for the decision architects and nudging can be non-transparent and manipulative.
Policy Officer, Unit Retail Markets; Coal and Oil, Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission, Brussels Abstract
The development of a resilient Energy Union, with a forward looking climate policy is one of the strategic objectives of the Commission. This is set-out in more detail in the Energy Union strategy aiming at setting the conditions for a reliable and affordable energy for all. The Energy Union aims to put consumers at the centre and to give them control. Consumer engagement is crucial to each of the 5 pillars of the Energy Union:
- Energy security, solidarity and trust
- Integrated European energy market
- Energy efficiency to moderate demand
- Decarbonisation of the economy
- Research, Innovation and Competitiveness
The New deal for Energy Consumers - presented in summer 2015 - sent a strong political signal on the Commission's intentions regarding consumer engagement and participation. The opening of markets is the first step to deliver on consumers' expectations, but not enough if consumers cannot choose energy services according to their preferences. Similarly, liberalised markets are a requirement to let new services emerge, but not enough to ensure flexibility and to reward consumer engagement.
The energy transition requires a fundamental transformation of Europe's energy system towards more decentralised, renewable and flexible power generation. It creates the opportunity to bring more innovation - like smart technologies and renewables - into energy services' market which allows expanding and improving the range and quality of services, as well as passing on the benefits to consumers. As part of this change the consumers will be at the heart of the EU's internal energy market. The energy transition will enable them to control their consumption, lower their bills and benefit from new opportunities.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, winnovation consulting gmbh; Deputy Chairwoman, Kreativwirtschaft Austria, Vienna Abstract
The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is & Marcel Proust, "Remembrance of Things Past" (Auf der Suche nach der verlorenen Zeit)
In the past, energy markets were characterized by highly centralized structures and dominated by few incumbents with large powerhouses and extensive grids. Under this stable traditional environments, innovation beyond optimization of turbine blades, to put it bluntly, did not play a role. This has changed dramatically: The shift towards renewable, often regionally produced energy, the strong decline of energy prices and the rise of artificial intelligence and big data technologies pave the way to decentralized models of energy production and consumption.
Energy markets are disrupted and transformed from relative simple utility markets to complex service markets where dynamic market entrants innovate along the entire value network - in services, processes and business models from production to conversion, storage, distribution and consumption.
Under this conditions, roles are changing dramatically and firms, governments and NGOs involved in the energy sector need to "behold the universe through the eyes of another", to speak with Marcel Proust: Consumers and their needs heavily influence the new value networks in energy markets. Consumers play an increasing role as producers, triggers of change and innovators: Their values (carbon-neutral lifestyles), technological capabilities (smartphones + mini-powerhouses or energy buffers on the roof and in the garage) and communication patterns (mobilizing group efforts, crowds) have transformed them into strong influencers and shapers of energy markets.
- This means, that climate-friendly and sustainable energy systems cannot be created any more by ignoring consumers, their problems, needs and expectations. Ignoring consumers and their needs leads to market failure - even in B2B-contexts.
- Consumers often innovate: They have concrete ideas how to produce, convert, store or use energy, e.g. at home, at work, when being at the move. Some individuals are highly knowledgeable, others collaborate in communities to shape their production and consumption patterns in innovative ways (e.g. energy cooperatives). Consumers (in general "users") are an important source of innovation. Collaborating in purposeful ways with individual or groups of consumers greatly enhances the likelihood of innovation success and market acceptance for new energy solutions and lifestyles.
- However, this comes at a price. In order to work with consumers, organizations (firms, governments, NGOs) have to change and open themselves up. Important prerequisites for Open Innovation activities with consumers are:
- cultural openness and interaction on a level playing field,
- boundary spanning, collaboration and communication capabilities,
- internal absorptive capacity for external knowledge and
- expertise in selecting of appropriate Open Innovation methods and innovation sources and/or partners.
Research Programme Agent, Computer Science, Engineering and Earth System Science Unit, Scientific Management Department, ERCEA - European Research Council Executive Agency, Brussels Abstract
The European Research Council (ERC) is a European funding organisation for curiosity-driven research at the frontiers of knowledge. It is boosting scientific excellence in Europe by funding research talents from all over the world, following a competitive selection process. The model is simple - one researcher, one institution, one project, and one selection criterion - the excellence.
Established by the European Commission in 2007, the European Research Council is the first European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds ambitious, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC encourages in particular proposals that cross disciplinary boundaries, pioneering ideas that address new and emerging fields and applications that introduce unconventional, innovative approaches.
With a budget of ¬ 13 billion for 2014-20 under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 'Horizon 2020', the ERC offers attractive five-year grants to scientists in all fields - Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Social Sciences and Humanities - without any predetermined thematic priorities.
In its short lifetime, the ERC has funded about 6,000 projects in the European Union and countries associated to the Horizon 2020 programme. The funding has allowed to set up research teams, and to employ over 40,000 researchers and other professionals.
Among the above mentioned projects there are many projects funded by the ERC in the area of energy: new materials, energy efficiency, batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, wind energy, but also socio-economic research. Many projects have already produced ground-breaking results in a variety of fields. These results benefit Europe, its citizens, energy consumers, ecology and its economy in many ways - through radically new knowledge, through new products, through clean and more affordable energy as well as through the training of highly skilled and innovative professionals who will contribute to the energy of tomorrow.
Editor, Der Standard, Vienna Chair
Managing Director, Climate and Energy Fund, Vienna Chair
Public Relations Manager, Climate and Energy Fund, Vienna Coordination

Mag. Judith DENKMAYR

Chief Corporate Development and Communication Officer, Vice CEE Group, Vienna

2000-2006 Praktikum und Freie Mitarbeit, Studio Wien des ZDF, Ö3, Kurier, Trend, Profil
2004-2006 PR & Content Management, PLAY.FM - Webradio und Audio Archiv
2006-2007 Redakteurin Online & On Air, gotv Fernseh GmbH
  Digital Relations Konzept zu ATV am Punkt
2007-2010 Social Media Verantwortliche, ATV Privat TV GmbH & Co
2010-2016 Chief Executive Officer, Digital Affairs GmbH
seit 2016 Chief Corporate Development and Communication Officer, Vice CEE Group


Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Applied Psychology: Work, Education, Economy, and Vice Dean, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna

1989 Habilitatio, Universität Linz
1992 Universitätsprofessor, Universität Wien
2004-2006 Vizedekan, Fakultät für Psychologie, Universität Wien
2004-2008 Institutsvorstand bzw. Vize-Institutsvorstand, Institut für Wirtschaftspsychologie, Bildungspsychologie und Evaluation, Fakultät für Psychologie, Universität Wien
2008-2010 Vizedekan, Fakultät für Psychologie, Universität Wien

MMag. Michaela KOLLAU

Policy Officer, Unit Retail Markets; Coal and Oil, Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission, Brussels

since 2014 Seconded National Expert to the European Commission, Brussels
since 2009 Energy Expert: Department for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Vienna
2010-2014 Co-chair, Sustainable Development Task Force, Brussels
2009 Consultant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vienna


Founder and Chief Executive Officer, winnovation consulting gmbh; Deputy Chairwoman, Kreativwirtschaft Austria, Vienna

1990-1994 Freie Journalistin, Tageszeitung Der Standard, Wien
1993 Mag.rer.nat, Universität Wien, Diplomstudium Ernährungswissenschaften
1994-2006 Redakteurin, Tageszeitung Salzburger Nachrichten, Büro Wien
1997 Dr. rer. nat., Universität Wien, Doktoratsstudium in Ernährungswissenschaften
1999-2008 Lektorin, Universität Wien
2004-2005 Studium, Harvard University, USA; Master in Public Administration (MPA)
2004-2005 Studium, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
2006-2013 Gewählte Vorsitzende der arge creativ wirtschaft austria, der bundesweiten Creative Industries Plattform in der Wirtschaftskammer Österreich
seit 2006 Gründerin, Geschäftsführende Gesellschafterin, Innovationsberatung winnovation
seit 2007 Wöchentliche Innovationskolumne "Gewagt Gewonnen", Tageszeitung Salzburger Nachrichten sowie als Blog im Internet
seit 2013 Gewählte stellvertretende Vorsitzende der arge creativ wirtschaft austria

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gordana POPOVIC

Research Programme Agent, Computer Science, Engineering and Earth System Science Unit, Scientific Management Department, ERCEA - European Research Council Executive Agency, Brussels

1991 Diplomabschluss an der Universität Belgrad, Fakultät Elektrotechnik
1998 Doktor der technischen Wissenschaften, Technische Universität Wien
1992-2002 Universitätsassistentin Technische Universität Wien
seit 2002 Österreichs Nationale Abgeordnete Sachverständige in der GD Forschung der EU


Editor, Der Standard, Vienna

1997-2004 MA, Political Science, University of Vienna and University of Cologne
2012-2014 MA, Journalism and New Media, Fachhochschule Wien
2002-2004 Head Editor "Progress", Magazine of the Austrian Students' Union
2004-2012 Freelance Journalist, Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF/Ö1, Falter, Presse
2013 Head Department "Wissen und Gesellschaft" DER STANDARD/

DI Theresia VOGEL

Managing Director, Climate and Energy Fund, Vienna

1989-1998 Forschungsmitarbeit und Projektkoordination von EU-Projekten, Institut für Wassergüte und Abfallwirtschaft, Technische Universität Wien
1998-2003 Selbständige wissenschaftliche Projekte, FTEI - Fakultätentag für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik e.V.
2001-2005 Leiterin des Wissenschaftsbereich Umwelttechnik und Qualitätsmanagement, Lektorin, Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, Campus Wieselburg
2005-2010 Bereichsleiterin Strukturprogramme und Programmleiterin "Nachhaltig Wirtschaften", Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft
seit 2010 Geschäftsführerin, Klima- und Energiefonds
 laufend diverse Vorträge an Universitäten und Fachhochschulen
seit 2011 Mitglied des Universitätsrates der Universität für Bodenkultur, Wien

Mag. Katja HOYER

Public Relations Manager, Climate and Energy Fund, Vienna

1993-2001 Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
2001-2004 Ecker&Partner, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Lobbying GmbH
2004-2010 Niederösterreich Werbung GmbH
since 2010 Klima- und Energiefonds der österreichischen Bundesregierung

Technology Symposium

show timetable


13:00 - 13:10OpeningPlenary
13:10 - 14:15RTI TalkPlenary
14:30 - 14:50From Austria to Silicon Valley - Cyber Security as a Global FactorPlenary
14:50 - 16:10Cybernetics in Advanced Energy and Production SystemsPlenary
16:30 - 17:45Complexity and the New EnlightenmentPlenary
20:00 - 20:15Best of Art and ScienceCulture
20:15 - 21:15Tickets to Berlin: Falling Walls Lab Austria and Alpbach Summer School on EntrepreneurshipPlenary
21:30 - 23:00Career LoungeSocial
21:30 - 23:30Evening ReceptionSocial


09:00 - 10:30Digital MedicinePlenary
09:00 - 18:00Junior Alpbach - Science and Technology for Young PeopleBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Ö1 Children's University Alpbach - Science and Technology for KidsBreakout
10:30 - 12:30Cross-sektorale Kooperationen von ClusternPartner
11:00 - 12:30Personalized Cancer MedicinePlenary
12:30 - 13:00Lunch Snacks for the Participants of the Breakout SessionsSocial
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 01: Innovation by Making: Paradigm Shifts and New Innovation CulturesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 02: Silicon Austria: A Game Changer for Austria as a High-Tech Location?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 03: Creating the Future: How to Reinvent Innovation ProcessesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 04: The Cycle of Innovation and its EcologyBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 05: Heavy Impact of Lightweight DesignBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 06: Looking Into the Unknown and Shifting HorizonsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 07: Radical Innovations: More Courage to Take RisksBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 08: The Acceptance of Technologies by Pupils with Migration History - a Plea for Transcultural Competence as new EnlightenmentBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 09: Cyber Security: A Fundamental RightBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 10: Open Access & Open Innovation - Tools for a New Enlightenment?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 11: Realities and Futures of RoboticsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 12: Energiewende - Empowering ConsumersBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 13: Security of Supply as a Locational FactorBreakout
19:00 - 20:30Innovation Marathon: Ideas Made to Order - 24 Hours NonstopPlenary


09:00 - 10:30Art Meets Science and Technology - Towards a New EnlightenmentPlenary
10:45 - 11:45Open Innovation: New Enlightenment? Participation - Democratisation - New SolutionsPlenary
12:15 - 13:30ETH Zurich, this Year's Special Guest at the Technology SymposiumPlenary
13:30 - 14:00Snack ReceptionSocial