WP2 leader visited pilot site Borg Havn in Norway:
“Our goal is to understand the dynamics of the stakeholders and end-users”

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, Smart Innovation Norway 23. April 2019

For E-LAND to develop the best solutions for each pilot and their specific stakeholders and end-users, Work Package 2 leader Thomas Mikkelsen and Behavioral Scientist Bonnie Murphy travel to each site to get to know the different players and their needs.

“To have to successful implementation of new technology, you need to understand what drives engagement and what prohibits it, what are the barriers, and what are the levers you should pull and push to make things happen,” says Thomas Mikkelsen, CEO of GECO Global – Green Energy Consultancy and leader of E-LAND Work Package 2: Community Building and End-User Involvement.

Visits pilot sites

The week before Easter, Mikkelsen and his colleague, Behavioral Scientist Bonnie Murphy, traveled to the first of the three European pilot sites, Borg Havn in Norway, to start their work with WP2.

“You need to speak to people, you need to understand the whole environment and the businesses. The best way to do that is to come and visit,” explains Mikkelsen.

Him and Murphy were at Borg Havn for one week, exploring the area, visiting companies and the municipality, discussing and doing interviews with stakeholders and end-users relevant to the project. In the weeks to follow, the duo will visit pilot sites Walqa Technology Park in Spain and the campus of Valahia University of Targoviste (UVTgv) in Romania.

The bigger picture

“So often, you talk about the technology and the solutions, but you forget about the community, the culture and the ground work that is all around. Our goal is to understand all those connections and the dynamics at play, and be smart about how we put the solution out there – to make sure it has the maximum effect,” notes Murphy.

One of the many cranes at the Port of Borg.

As a behavioral scientist, she is the ‘expert on site’. Murphy organizes the pilot site visits and makes sure that the right people to be speaking to are identified.

“My job is to understand the bigger picture. From there, hopefully, we will be able to map out what these communities look like and develop an engagement plan,” says Murphy.

Two sets of eyes

Mikkelsen emphasizes the importance of travelling to the different sites and meeting the key players in person.

“We are not only out here to interview people, but also to understand the dynamics and how everything works. We have already experienced that having more than just one set of eyes watching, is important. While one is sitting there discussing with someone, the other one can observe the dynamics in the room,” explains Mikkelsen.

“It makes such a big difference when you are in a room with a person, and instantly you can feel how their group operates differently from someone else,” comments Murphy.

Engaging end-users

The duo’s first idea after speaking to the stakeholders at Borg Havn, is to connect everybody and encourage them to get engaged. In addition, they have noticed that people’s ambitions in relation to energy savings are not very big.

“Most people here do not really understand or know how much energy they are using. In that perspective, we have discussed the opportunity to somehow visualize, when you come into the harbor, how much energy is being used today compared to yesterday or last year. This could perhaps motivate people to think about how they are utilizing the equipment and energy they are using every day,” suggests Mikkelsen.

The results and discussions from each pilot site visit will be compared in a final project deliverable and a concrete engagement strategy.

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