Research doesn't just mean thinking and writing – our research is practical, and is closely integrated with our design work. We develop and lead research processes that bring together academics, scientists, designers and engineers to solve complex problems in simple ways. Most of our projects end up with working prototypes that can be used to solve real problems.
Our first and broadest research programme, energy-literacy addresses the ways that energy suppliers, new markets and governments and citizens can co-operate to deliver behavioural energy-efficiency and low-carbon lifestyles for everyone. The outcomes include prototypes of simple new ways to build popular understanding of energy and carbon. This project is part-funded by the DTI technology programme.
The saving-energy business
Many energy companies would like to help with climate-change, but there are still real conflicts between their environmental ambitions and their need to make a profit. In many territories new legislation will require energy suppliers to sell less energy every year. This project is investigating integrated commercial strategies to allow energy supply businesses to turn effective energy-saving and carbon-saving into a powerful business asset, helping them to become immediately more competitive, and preparing them to take maximum advantage of new and transformed energy markets as they emerge.
Since beginning in 2006, the PeoplePower project has established that there is a balance between complex and simple language that could help everyone – from individuals and micro-businesses to governments and corporations – to address climate more effectively. We are working with partners including The BBC and Defra to design simple, clever language and give it away to ordinary people, and to stakeholders across sectors.
We all have some 'bad habits' from the point of view of climate change. This project is seeking out low-cost opportunities for businesses to change their bad habits which benefit the bottom line while reducing carbon impact. We are working with the Bartlett and others to develop new physical and virtual architectures for user-centred international conferencing based around efficiency and delight. One early outcome of this project was the shadow transfer piece.
Connecting the networks
A research project for The RSA, this project looked at emerging opportunities to join up physical and virtual networks to enable new types of conversation, and considered how the organisational form of a community affects its capacity to learn and grow.