Paper publication

itle: Designing for multiple stakeholder interests within the humanitarian market: the case of off-grid energy devices


Author: Brita Fladvad Nielsen; Ana Laura Rodrigues Santos


Address: Department of Product Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Kolbjørn Hejes Vei 2B, 7491 Trondheim, Norway ‘ Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology (DUT), Landbergstraat 15, 2628CE Delft, The Netherlands


Journal: Int. J. of Learning and Change, 2013 Vol.7, No.1/2, pp.49 – 67


Abstract: A ‘humanitarian market’ for off-grid renewable energy technologies for displaced populations in remote areas has emerged. Within this market, there are multiple stakeholder agendas. End-user needs and sustainable development goals are currently not considered through the customer-enterprise relationship and the applied product and service design process. Challenges inherent in the attempt to satisfy multiple stakeholder interests are complicated by short-term planning by humanitarian funding agencies. These challenges have led to poor technical performance, accountability issues and increased mistrust between stakeholders. Enterprises looking for sustainable and predictable markets in the humanitarian relief context will benefit from reflecting upon and communicating their role in this market to organisations and end-users. Including a more participatory development approach may ensure progress towards a more ‘sustainable’ and ‘real needs’-based market, with products that take long-term considerations into account.

Keywords: renewable energy; sustainable development; sustainability; humanitarian market; design process; stakeholder interests; off-grid energy devices; displaced populations; remote areas; humanitarian relief; short-term planning; humanitarian funding agencies; technical performance; accountability; mistrust; participatory development; participation; long-term considerations.


About Brita Fladvad Nielsen

I'm a Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My focus is on Smart Energy Communities in urban settings as well as design of energy-devices for emergency settings and design for humanitarian markets, especially for refugee camps in rural areas of Africa. I blog about my research approach Design Thinking on and about humanitarian design at . I am also a mother of a child who is deaf, and I blog about her language development on
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