How can design help us achieve a sustainable society?

28 April, 2013 - 14:20

Cecilia Katzeff is Interactive Institute’s Research Director at our Energy Design studio in Eskilstuna. Her research focuses on the user experience and the role of IT design, as well as behavioral change related to the use of energy in contexts such as the household, the workplace and sustainable urban areas. Cecilia was recently appointed adjunct professor of sustainable interaction design at KTH, which will strengthen the cooperation between Interactive Institute and KTH.

What is your area of expertise?

I work in the area of sustainable interaction design. My research is a human-oriented approach towards the design of interaction between people, their environment and various ICT artifacts and systems. It focuses the role of design and development of digital services in behavioral change related to the use of energy in households, the workplace, sustainable cities, and food consumption.

What do you aim to achieve?

My vision is a sustainable society encompassing all aspects of the concept. I would like to integrate socially and psychologically based research with design and technical research to understand how sustainable lifestyles may be created. One of the driving forces behind the work I’m involved in is to concretize research issues and to point to questions that might not yet have been addressed.

How can industry and society benefit from your research?

Industry and society benefit in various ways. Our research aims to shed light on the human oriented aspects of the transition into a more sustainable society. We combine technological and design research with behavioral and a human-oriented approach without reducing the role of people. Our projects have a strong focus on participation and involvement of all target groups.

Why do you work at Interactive Institute?

I enjoy the interdisciplinary environment, the creative atmosphere and the proximity to real world challenges. I also appreciate the autonomy, trust and responsibility given to individual researchers and groups. Our work regarding the visualization of energy consumption is highly cited in international scientific journals and conferences. I also get many proposals from international students and researchers who wish to collaborate, which I interpret as a sign that what we do is quite well known abroad.

How do you collaborate with industry or the public sector?
We cooperate in projects towards similar goals. An industry partner might provide a context to general research questions at the same time as concrete problems are addressed in the daily business. Our projects in the Royal Seaport are examples of how we collaborate with industry and the public sector.

What do you look forward to in 2013?

I look forward to communicating the results of several interesting projects. I also look forward to finally embarking on the Celsius project – a four-year EU Energy initiative that connects five countries and 13 demonstrators for sustainable cities.