Technical University of Denmark
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Stig Irving Olsen is an expert in the environmental assessment of products and systems. He has vast experience in the environmental assessment of micro/nanotechnologies production, sustainable production, and circular economy. Dr. Olsen’s interests incorporate sustainable solutions of innovations in engineering and business.
Developing a new technology requires much more than an economical cost-benefit analysis of production and performance. Many aspects will influence the success of an emerging technology at its final use stage. In this course we study how we can assess the potentials and pitfalls of emerging technologies to optimize their development process. We define this “Sustainable Innovation process” as a directed process of balanced consideration of the influencing aspects to optimally guide the development of an emerging technology. The process involves a.o.:
– Actor network analysis of the many entities that can influence the technological field
– Analysis of governance and development of regulations and legislation in the field
– Life cycle check of the technology, and paths for optimizing the lifecycle to reduced footprint.
– Resource supply security and forecasts of involved materials.
– Toxicological aspects and ecotoxicological aspects
– The historical development in the field and the fundamental limitations on performance
– Competing technologies and future market analysis
This course aims at giving students experience in performing an analysis involving a combination of aspects in order to optimize the success of a product innovation process. Taking technologies relevant for the participants (in business or as private persons), as a case of a rapidly evolving technological field, we example cases of sustainable innovation, combined with state-of-art literature to give an overview of different methods being applied to guide the development.
Students will formulate their own project and work in groups on a selected case of emerging technology, and during the course present their analysis in a presentation and report. The aim is to account for the choice of method and then to formulate a substantiated recommendation for optimal development of the technology the students have been investigating.
The project cases will be developed by the students and may be based on an industrial collaborator, a research project, or a technology you find interesting in surveying to locate new potentials for innovation and development, maybe even in your further work after the course.
The course hence gives a functional introduction and hands-on experience for performing basic actor network analysis, life cycle screening, and technology assessments, but given the time constraints it will not give a full in-depth explanation on these methods.