The Participation Triangle: Involving Generation Y in energy strategy

Ilse van Andel

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

68 Downloads (Pure)


The liberalization of the Dutch energy market has led to a change of relation between energy companies and their customers. At the same time, the Dutch energy policy expects energy companies to contribute to an energy supply that is cleaner, smarter and more varied, and available at any time at affordable prices. The situation since the liberalization of the energy market can be summarized in the following points:
- Energy companies provide a product: energy, that is of social interest and importance, which forces them to act in a socially responsible manner,
- Energy as a product is a commodity
- Energy consumers are free to choose the energy supplier they want, to provide in their energy need.
Consequently, energy suppliers have to think and act like a commercial company, which means that energy companies in a liberalized market, next to their public responsibility, have strategic marketing issues to handle.
The notion that energy companies a) need future energy consumers to help them understand changes going on at the consumer-end, and their probable implications on future energy supply, while b) they are unfamiliar with this specific group of consumers at the same time, has resulted in the following leading question of the research: How to involve the future energy consumer effectively in the strategy of an energy company?
Answering this practical design question requires answering a variety of underlying knowledge questions, including definitions of key concepts such as ‘involvement’ and ‘effective’, and, more generally, ‘What factors and conditions affect the process of involvement, and what is their impact on the effectiveness of the process?’, and ‘What are the design principles following from these insights’?
The theoretical basis to answer these knowledge questions lies in two research traditions; Policy Analysis and Consumer Research.
Consumer Research and Policy Analysis assign three common elements to the concept of involvement. They both implicitly and explicitly consider:
1) The topic: the subject the involvement is about. In this research the topic was the strategy of Eneco concerning future energy supply.
2) The participant: the person or group of persons that is actively involved or being involved with the topic. In this research the future energy consumer, represented by participating member of Generation Y, was the participant.
3) The initiator: the party that initiates and/or organizes the involvement of the participant in the topic. In this research Eneco, representing the energy company, was the initiator. In this research the relations between these elements are conceptualised as “The Participation Triangle”:
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Thissen, W.A.H., Supervisor
  • Enserink, B., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date18 Dec 2017
Print ISBNs978-94-6299-788-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Policy Analysis
  • Marketing
  • Involvement
  • Participation
  • Participatory design
  • Generation Y
  • Action design research
  • Energy
  • Strategy
  • Co-creation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Participation Triangle: Involving Generation Y in energy strategy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this