Liridona Sopjani: "We could have faster innovation with co-creation"
Liridona Sopjani is conducting her doctoral research at the department of Integrated Product Development at KTH, with a focus on transition towards sustainable innovation: how firms and users can consume more sustainably.
Liridona Sopjani is interested in innovation that both creates less environmental impact in the production of products and services, and changes the consumption to be more sustainable. In Mistra SAMS, Liridona Sopjani is part of work package 3: Taking a strategic outlook. Currently, she is mapping a large number of car-sharing and mobility-as-a-service platforms throughout the world.
– I’m trying to map the whole world. Today car-sharing is mainly seen in Europe and North America, but it’s really interesting to see platforms in, for example, India that are in many ways more disruptive than the car-sharing here.
In her mapping process, Liridona Sopjani has found that branding and building a narrative around car-sharing has become more important over time, as more services exist they have need to differentiate themselves from one another. Some market themselves as a way for average consumers to have access to luxury-class cars, some focus on high-tech solutions, and some emphasize the social aspects of car sharing as a way to meet new people.
– Sustainability, the "green-ness" of car-sharing, is sometimes part of this marketing. But the impact calculations are rarely done. Hopefully in Mistra SAMS we can create a framework to really measure how sustainable these different services are.
Before starting her work with Mistra SAMS, Liridona Sopjani was part of a two-year research project that examined ways to provide electric vehicles to employees at two large workplaces, to lower car use.
– We deployed small electric vehicles and provided the service for sharing the vehicles. We had different user groups: those that were caretakers and took the vehicle to and from work, and others who could use the vehicle during the day for errands and suchlike. We wanted to both change the way people commute, and to optimize the use of vehicles during the day so that they don’t stand around idly.
The research team acted partly as an intermediary between users and the other different stakeholders such as the vehicle providers, service providers and employers. This living-lab approach helped the users of the electric vehicles be part of the development of the services. Liridona Sopjani believes that this type of co-creation with users is essential to increase the speed and spread of innovation of new services for mobility and accessibility, to overcome one of the major challenges for innovation in this area – a lack of users:
– Many sustainability innovations take around ten years to become economies of scale, and that is too slow to generate investment. This is where I believe that user-integration can help. It’s so important to understand your costumers! But many companies are instead creating technical solutions, and then hoping the market is there. And it’s often not. We have many solutions, but few users. So companies need to find good selling-points, and co-creation might be a way to achieve that. We could have faster innovation!