Our new colleague Stan van den Broek has recently graduated in Innovation Sciences. Now that he’s part of Partners for Innovation, he tells us a bit more about what his studies entail.
Stan: ‘In my studies I learned to analyse technological innovations and developments. What makes an innovation successful? To understand the complexity of that, you need to look beyond the technological aspects. That means paying attention to social-economic aspects, governmental policies and psychological factors, like consumer acceptance and relevant patents.
In my Master’s, I focused on the energy transition. This is a fundamental change in our society; so I wanted to consider small scale projects as well as the bigger trends. The rise of small, residential energy companies fit in the bigger trend of decentralised energy production: producing energy close to where it is used.
Did you research the energy transition for your thesis?
For my thesis I researched the ways in which the governments of Germany and the US tried to facilitate energy innovations in their country. This varied from funding radical new technologies like electrofuels to establishing large-scale networks in order to make the national energy system more flexible. I looked at the different policy instruments that these countries use – or not use – and how that matched the national culture and belief system.
For example, the US is a very competitive country, whereas in Germany people are generally more inclined to cooperate. These culturally ingrained beliefs are reflected in the way renewable energy innovations are (financially) supported. In Germany you’ll find more opportunities for public participation than in the US.
-How do you see the link between your studies and your work for PfI?
I have a wide interest in technological innovations and current developments. Innovation processes are often complex and require a multi-layer approach. In analysing the rise of the private use of solar panels, we need to take into account its technology, its aesthetics (how they look on the roof) and the financial return. At Partners for Innovation, I get the chance to help companies and governments achieve their sustainability goals, using this multi-layer approach.
-Your personal mission is ‘accelerate towards a sustainable and fair future, by helping small scale innovations’. Explain.
Individual projects and complex changes influence each other. A lot of small changes will lead to a big one, but this also happens the other way around: a system can make small projects possible. What I mean by this is if we want to make the world a little better, we need to put our efforts in small scale projects, with keeping our eye on the bigger picture. That’s what I’m doing at Partners for Innovation.
Stan van den Broek firstname.lastname@example.org