Accepted Paper:

User requirements for novel monitoring technologies: Articulation processes in the drinking water sector  


Kornelia Konrad (University of Twente)
Haico te Kulve

Paper long abstract:

Haico te Kulve & Kornelia Konrad*

The role of users in innovation is a key theme within Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Innovation Studies (IS). Within STS there is a rich body of literature with micro level studies, but relatively less attention to patterns which play at the sector level. Within IS there is relatively more attention to meso-level dynamics, for instance within studies on systems of innovation, but to some degree black-boxing of variety and dynamics of user practices and their involvement in innovation processes.

This paper explores the possibility of cross-breeding by combining insights from STS and IS in order to examine dynamics at the sector level regarding the formulation of requirements, and illustrates this with an empirical analysis of monitoring technologies in the drinking water sector. While drinking water companies express a keen interest in sensor technologies for water quality monitoring, and much efforts have been done to develop sensor technologies, the articulation of demands up to actual application of sensors is surprisingly limited. To understand what is happening we have collected and analyzed data from 15 semi-structured interviews, reports and an interactive stakeholder workshop.

Our findings show the emergence and unfolding of different demand trajectories and their dynamics, including impasses in articulation processes. The paper concludes by suggesting that actors attempting to overcome impasses in specifying requirements for novel technologies should not solely focus on clarifying performance characteristics of novel options, but anticipate early on the unfolding of demand trajectories and interdependencies with other actors' preferences and responsibilities regarding these novel options.

*presenting author

Panel K2
Cross-breeding science and technology studies and innovation studies