2-day learning programme: Social Innovation and Transition in Energy


Social Innovation and Transition in Energy Learning Programme

Stimulating sustainable energy systems requires innovation of societal systems through which human needs such as for energy are being satisfied. The learning module ‘Social Innovation and Transition in Energy’ (SITEP) takes you on a dedicated journey along some essential assets of such endeavour: systemic thinking, envisioning, innovative partnerships and new business models. In a strongly interactive way, you will discover new possibilities to make your own sustainable energy efforts and projects more effectively contribute to the systemic transformation of the energy system.



This new course on social innovation and transition in energy offers an explicitly action-oriented approach that provides the graduates with the required capabilities to reorient energy projects and practices and set them on a sustainability transition path.

SITEP starts from the participants’ sustainable energy practices and projects and focuses more specifically on encountered obstacles and barriers in their daily work. SITEP is based on the ‘learning-by-doing’ method: issues requiring theoretical framing are derived from participants’ cases; theoretical notions are then employed to enrich the case perception and to develop innovative solutions.

Systemic transformation of the energy systems requires new, more sustainable energy production and consumption patterns. That implies not only the need for innovative technologies, but in fact, a radical change of the entire societal system through which provision and consumption of energy occur. That entails: new structures, new cultures and new practices. In order to effectively contribute to such transitions, involved  stakeholders need a number of specific competences and skills.

Aided by the theoretical frameworks, SITEP explains and helps operationalise four major system innovation essentials:

  • Systemic perspective: a critical skill that helps to acknowledge technological and societal changes in the way societies consume and produce energy. Systemic view of energy facilitates the development of win-win type of game-changing solutions;
  • Envisioning : an asset that helps develop coherent future guidance connecting short-term actions with long-term visions;
  • Innovative collaborations and partnerships: enablers of smart combinations of skills, expertise and resources;

New business models: create multiple values and incorporate collaboration and visioning for sustainability.


Target Group

Primarily, the Social Innovation and Transition in Energy Programme aims at project managers, applied researchers and other research initiators who face barriers when implementing their sustainable energy ambitions.

SITEP participants:

  • share a fascination for sustainable energy systems;
  • are motivated to actively engage in social environments where technological energy innovations are considered accelerators for a transition towards sustainable energy systems;
  • are open to re-frame current technical energy production strategies and options to acknowledge the broader societal context;
  • have an open mind to engage in a reflexive and social learning process, in which questions and problems are shared and solutions are jointly discussed and discovered.

Competencies to be gained from a SITEP course

SITEP encompasses four full-day hands-on and interactive sessions, each focussing on a specific social innovation and transition essential:

Systems thinking

  • Recognising the systemic nature of sustainability issues;
  • Being able to identify hotspots and tensions that require urgency of systemic change;
  • Being aware of the importance of the societal context in technological innovation;
  • Acquiring insight in the essentials of systems and their functioning;
  • Recognising how systemic innovation differs from incremental, partial, optimisation-like solutions;
  • Understanding the typical characters of time, scale and radicalism of transitions.


  • Learning to operationalise a long-term vision;
  • Understanding ‘envisioning’ as an instrumental process of building trust, legitimacy and discussing expectations;
  • Acknowledging the importance of process aspects in system innovation, in particular the role of inter-actor collaborations;
  • Acquiring a good perspective on the diversity of attitudes, mind-sets and practical settings in the process of co-creation;
  • Understanding innovativeness of co-creation logics for social innovation/transition.

Collaboration and co-creation

  • Learning to (re)consider innovative actor settings and changing actor roles;
  • Gaining insight in strategic planning for sustainable development;
  • Learning to deal with barriers to radical change at the level of projects;
  • Identifying other alternatives, projects that aim at the transformation of the same system.

New business models

  • Understanding novel arrangements and business models and their rationale;
  • Developing new business models for own projects;
  • Changing mind-set to novel opportunities for sustainable economic activities
  • Increasing awareness of (re)new(ed) roles for businesses and their communities.

Location and timing

In the spring two SITEP sessions will take place at the Eindhoven  University of Technology (TU/e), the Netherlands and the other two at the University of Leuven in Belgium:

  • 12-13 November in Genk


fee paid by KIC InnoEnergy (value of €500/pp) since this is the first edition of this course!


  • Two whole-day sessions
  • Lunches and coffee on all two days
  • Course material, reader incl.

Admission Requirements

For the best experience, we advise that candidates:

  • are engaged in energy projects and have good knowledge of energy (sub)systems
  • are fluent in English
  • can illustrate their interest and motivation for this course in the SITEP application form.

For further information & subscription, please send an email to sitep@kic-innoenergy.com.