FUTURES THINKING Workshop – “From Circular Economy to Circular Society” at Futurium Berlin

On 12.9.2018, we had the pleasure of welcoming representatives from business, research, culture and civil society to the Futurium Lab. Future sustainable life should be thought, experienced and shaped together. The workshop format could be realized for the first time as a cooperation project between the TU-Berlin, Fraunhofer IZM and the Futurium Berlin.

The workshops focused on “FUTURES THINKING” as a methodological approach on the one hand and “Value Creation in the Circular Society” as a thematic focus on the other.

Read more here.


Circular Economy and Social-Ecological Transformation – new publication of the research group

In Jahrbuch Nachhaltige Ökonomie 2018/19 a new contribution from the research group on the topic “Circular Economy als Träger zur sozial-ökologischen Transformation?” (Circular Economy as a driver of social-ecological transformation?) has been published. Florian Hofmann, Jakob Zwiers, Melanie Jaeger-Erben and Max Marwede discuss the potential of circular economy concepts for social-ecological transformation. Based on a critique of common approaches and business models of the circular economy, whose blind spot is mainly a neglect of social sustainability aspects, they develop the outline of a “Circular Society” and define four basic dimensions: 1) Accessibility and transparency, 2) Democratization, activation, empowerment, 3) Community, collaboration, solidarity, 4) Innovation and creativity.

Hofmann, Florian/ Zwiers/ Jakob, Jaeger-Erben, Melanie und Max Marwede (2018): Circular Economy als Träger sozial-ökologischer Transformation? In: Rogall. H. et al (2018): Jahrbuch Nachhaltige Ökonomie. 217-229.

OHA at the PLATE 2017 in Delft

OHA at the PLATE 2017 in Delft


From the 8th -10th of November, the second conference “Product Lifetimes and The Environment” (PLATE), took place at the TU Delft. The junior research group OHA was strongly represented, with, inter alia, several presentations.

The Conference-Proceedings contain the following publications on OHA research:

Florian Hofmann, Max Marwede, Nils Nissen und Klaus-Dieter Lang: Circular added value: business model design in the circular economy.

Melanie Jaeger-Erben und Marina Proske: What’s hot what’s not: the social construction of product obsolescence and its relevance for strategies to increase functionality.

Furthermore, in occasion of the “Disruptive Innovation Festival” hosted by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, the interview session “Ever-faster-ever shorter? Is planned obsolescence real?” was recorded with the participation of the OHA member Melanie Jaeger-Erben (minute 11:07).

We are glad that the PLATE 2019 will take place in Berlin. The event will be hosted by the Fraunhofer IZM in cooperation with the TU Berlin and strong support from OHA.

Lecture by Tamina Hipp on 21.11.2017 at the TU Colloquium Technology and Innovation Research

Tamina Hipp (ZTG) will give a lecture on November 21, 2017, 4 – 6 p.m., at the Research Colloquium on Technology and Innovation Research at the TU Berlin under the title “Born to die? Social Practices in Handling Electronic Products”.

The use-time of electronic devices plays a decisive role in increasing resource efficiency. Nevertheless, electronic devices are often used for shorter periods than is technically possible. The speaker presents her doctoral project by applying a practical-theoretical perspective to investigate how short and long useful lives occur and how longevity can be promoted. First empirical results are presented and discussed.

Location: FH 919, Fraunhoferstr. 33-36, 10587 Berlin

New publications

New publications by members of the Junior Research Group:

Melanie Jaeger-Erben
Geplanter oder hervorgebrachter Verschleiß? Das Potential (umwelt)soziologischer Praxistheorien zum Verstehen von Obsoleszenz bei Konsumgütern. Verhandlungen des 38. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie, Band 38 (2017)
In der aktuellen Ausgabe der GAIA 3/2017:
Melanie Jaeger-Erben, René John, Jana Rückert-John
Soziale Innovation: Verheißung oder Verführung? GAIA 26/3 (2017): 245 – 248

Inhaltsverzeichnis der GAIA-Ausgabe

Durability is more important that innovation – first results of our online survey

Durability is more important that innovation

The majority of the German population assesses stability, durability and robustness in electronic devices as more important than new product versions and functional updates. This was confirmed by our representative online survey including 2.000 participants aged between 14 and 66, conducted in July and August 2017. As a part of the study, we examined expectations and experiences with usage and lifetimes of electronic products focusing smartphones and washing machines.


Download report

New publication in the Sustainable Economy Yearbook 5.2016/2017

New publication

Obsoleszenz als Herausforderung für Nachhaltigkeit. Ursachen und Alternativen für Kurzlebigkeit in der „Wegwerfgesellschaft“, im Jahrbuch Nachhaltige Ökonomie, 5.2016/2017


Obsolescence, understood as a “man-made”, socially induced shortening of the use and lifespan of consumer goods – is one of the central challenges for sustainable development. In the field of electronic equipment in particular, the social and ecological effects of the extraction of raw materials, the production and use of consumer goods and their disposal are diametrically opposed to the principles of a sustainable economy. The following contribution is based on the thesis that anthropogenic obsolescence is caused by the interaction of different social fields and actors and their social practices in dealing with resources and products and must be understood as a socio-technical phenomenon. The resource turnaround should therefore be flanked by socio-cultural change in which resource-saving production methods, sustainable design, eco-innovative business models and sustainable consumption practices gain social relevance. The task of science is to investigate the socio-technical phenomenon of anthropogenic obsolescence in all its complexity in an interdisciplinary way and to develop strategies for overcoming it in transdisciplinary contexts.

  • Jaeger-Erben, Melanie; Winzer, Janis; Marwede, Max; Proske, Marina (2016): Obsoleszenz als Herausforderung für Nachhaltigkeit. Ursachen und Alternativen für Kurzlebigkeit in der „Wegwerfgesellschaft“ in Rogall, Holger; Binswanger, Hans-Christoph; Ekardt, Felix; Grothe, Anja; Hasenclever, Wolf-Dieter; Hauchler, Ingomar et al. (Eds.) (2016): Im Brennpunkt Ressourcenwende – Transformation zu einer ressourcenleichten Gesellschaft. Metropolis-Verlag für Ökonomie Gesellschaft und Politik GmbH. [1. Auflage]. Marburg: Metropolis Verlag (Jahrbuch Nachhaltige Ökonomie, 5.2016/2017). Seite 91-122. http://www.metropolis-verlag.de/Jahrbuch-Nachhaltige-Oekonomie-20162017/1232/book.do