Background and activities
With a masters degree in Applied Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and a PhD degree in Industrial Design Engineering from Delft University of Technology, I worked as an assistant professor in the Design for Sustainability Program at the Industrial Design Engineering School, TU Delft, the Netherlands, until 2006. In 2004, I was a visiting professor at the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden.
In these years, my research interests include sustainable product innovation research and education, and have until a few years ago mainly focused on the organisational and managerial aspects of successful implementation of sustainable product innovation in the electronics industry. Before that I belonged to the first wave of ecodesign researchers that focused on end-of-life issues for electronics.
As of January 2007, I am professor in product design at the Department of Product Design. Since then, my research interests have broadened or even shifted to include the use phase. The research in my group has in recent years mainly focused on Design for Sustainable Behaviour. We focus on understanding how designers and firms can be facilitated in exploiting opportunities, both environmental and commercial, that may exist in designing products and contexts that make users use products in a sustainable way (or avoid that they use them in an unsustainable way). Three PhD students work/have worked on this: Ida Nilstad Pettersen (finished in May 2013), Johannes Zachrisson Daae and Kirsi Laitala.
We aim to integrate insights from interaction design, science and technology studies, stakeholder analysis and environmental psychology in developing research protocols to collect empirical information on users' behaviour, attitudes, habits, beliefs, as well situational contexts, and to carry out practical experiments and develop design concepts. We also aim to understand to what extent and under which conditions firms may take such design strategies as a source for innovating their product portfolios. Case studies, both descriptive and explorative, have been done with firms including Philips, Jøtul, Electrolux and Glen Dimplex Nordic
I have also supervised Bijan Aryana (who also finished in May 2013); his research explored design for country-specific customisation of smart phones, in collaboration with LG Electronics. In 2012, my two former PhD students Elli Verhulst and Silje Aschehoug defended their dissertations; Elli researched how addressing human factors such as resistance and empowerment facilitate or complicate a sustainable design implementation process based on case studies in eight firms. Silje researched the availability, relevance and accessibility of information sources, that are relevant to sustainable design and manufacturing. Her work was based on case studies in the Norwegian automotive and furniture industry.
In the past I have also co-supervised PhD research on topics such as ecodesign management, probing and learning in the fuel cell industry, and sustainable packaging design.
I am also affiliated to NTNU's Industrial Ecology program; In the academic year 2008/2009 I acted as interim director for this multidisciplinary international master, PhD and research program.