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An energy leap? Business model innovation and intermediation in the ‘Energiesprong’ retrofit initiative

15 November, 2019

An energy leap? Business model innovation and intermediation in the ‘Energiesprong’ retrofit initiative

Steven Robert Sorrell

Research paper   Digital Society

Donal Brown, Paula Kivimaa and StevenSorrell

Abstract

Business model innovation is increasingly necessary for the transition to a sustainable energy system. In this paper we outline how whole-house energy ‘retrofits’ are likely to require business model innovation to gain widespread adoption. Through semi-structured interviews and document analysis, we undertake a case study of the ‘Energiesprong’ retrofit business model and contrast this with the existing ‘atomised’ market model. We highlight the central role of an innovation intermediary – the Energiesprong ‘market development team’- in this business model innovation and further how Dutch policymakers sought to promote it through the creation of this intermediary. In doing so we develop a novel framework, combining the components of business models with the functions of intermediaries. We suggest that for radical energy business model innovations to be adopted, intermediaries may need to facilitate, configure and broker system innovation in multiple system elements. Finally, the paper suggests this case and framework could provide lessons for how intermediaries and in turn policymakers might foster energy business model innovation in other sectors.

Publication details

Brown, D., Kivimaa, P. and Sorrell, S. 2019. An energy leap? Business model innovation and intermediation in the ‘Energiesprong’ retrofit initiative. Energy Research and Social Science, 58. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2019.101253

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash