Insero Live Lab

“The structure of the storytelling guideline was easy to translate into action for our own storytelling approach. It helped us to get into a deeper dialogue with the participants.” Insero Live Lab project representative

Project Summary

Insero Live Lab is a living laboratory where energy technology and services are trialled by real-life end users. The live lab is located in Stenderup, a village close to Horsens, Denmark. In this village, the Insero Live Lab project staff has recruited 20 families to have their houses equipped with the newest technology from the energy and ICT sector, including:

• Heat pump connected to a hydronic heating system
• Solar heating system
• Photovoltaic cells
• Complete home automation system for control of indoor climate and comfort
• Charging box for an electric vehicle
• Electric vehicle (leased)
• Broadband internet connection

During the trial, the participating families have access to live information about market prices, weather forecasts and production and consumption forecasts. The equipment, combined with useful information, is expected to influence the energy consumption behavior of the participating families. At the same time, the end users play an important role by providing feedback to develop easy to understand and user-friendly new products and services.

Collaboration with S3C

The collaboration between Insero and S3C started at a point when they had already rolled out the extensive technology set-up in the homes. Even before collaborating with the S3C project, the Insero Live Lab project had an extensive plan to collaborate with their end users that included several rounds of interviews and surveys, contextual inquiries, co-creation workshops and interaction schemes via social media channels. Furthermore, the project retained a social scientist, who acted as the main point of contact for the project’s participants.
However, the Insero Live Lab team was interested comparing their approaches and results to those of other Smart Grid projects in Europe. Additionally, they were looking at new ways to raise awareness for their project. Finally, after a joint process of discussing priorities and possibilities, one guideline and tool from the S3C Toolkit for end user engagement ( were implemented in the living lab.

Guideline: Telling Stories as an innovative marketing and evaluation method

Why was the guideline implemented?
The guideline was implemented to utilise stories told by the participating end users as a way communicate their experiences of being part of the living lab to the greater public. Instead of talking about technical innovations, this approach is supposed to communicate "what it means to live in a smart community” and "what the challenges for daily routines resulted from having the new equipment installed”.
How was the guideline implemented?
The S3C guideline "Telling stories as an innovative marketing and evaluation method” supported the Insero Live Lab team in implementing a video story called "experiences from a living lab”. The narrators, a family participating in the project, are telling the viewer how the new equipment in their house has impacted their daily lives. Their story was structured via loose questions (semi-structured interview) and the outcome was shared on the project’s website and facebook account. Through the end user story, the project staff was able to gain a deeper understanding of the end user experience, to share the stories of their participants with the greater public and to share information in order to build trust and raise understanding for the new technologies in other potentially interested consumers.


Tool: Questons for the evaluation within smart grids

Why was the tool implemented?
The battery of questions for the evaluation within smart grid projects served as an orientation point for double-checking and optimising the surveys carried out during the project. The main motivation of the Insero team to work with the tool was to increase the comparability of the results from the questionnaires and survey to those from other smart grid projects.
How was the tool implemented?
The S3C tool "Questions for the evaluation within smart grids” was used to double-check and optimize the questionnaires applied for the ongoing evaluation the Insero Live Lab project esp. to see if the project’s research protocols were in line with other European Projects. Also user friendliness was one of the top priorities in developing surveys; especially they wanted to avoid overburdening their participants with too frequent or too long surveys. The guideline facilitated decision the-making processes in terms of optimizing their survey format.

Further information / Contact

Contact S3C consortium: Janina Schneiker (B.A.U.M. Consult GmbH), e-mail: