In the CASI project at first we intended to divide sustainable innovation (SI) cases in technological and social types. But is it possible to treat technological and social types of sustainable innovation as separate analytical silo’s? Let’s take the example of BIOMASSER®, a SI mapped by the CASI team. BIOMASSER® is a machine and technology for briquetting biomass which can be used by individuals or a group of people.
We would like to present you this case once again as by decision of European committee - BIOMASSER® technology received the first Europe Verification Statement that bears number VN20140001 in the frame of EU ETV project. The machine produces biomass briquettes from almost all kind of biomass that do not need any pre-production treatment and is therefore very user-friendly. Also lay men can use this machine. People from rural areas can use BIOMASSER® to produce, for example, briquette from leftovers of their agricultural production. Because of their simplicity, machines are bought not only by individuals but also by groups of people in a sharing economy scheme. In this communities anyone can bring his biomass and use the machine to produce briquettes. Like around mills in old days, in today’s world people gather around BIOMASSER®. The BIOMASSER® machines comes in different sizes and shapes and some of them are mobile. The innovating aspect of BIOMASSER not only lies in its technology but also in how it is utilized by users. BIOMASSER® is an example of a technological innovation that, in practice, has led to the establishment of a sharing economy scheme. The outcome of the technological innovation touches upon a social innovation that is sustainable in every possible way and can be easily transferred worldwide. BIOMASSER® allows almost anyone to produce briquette from their biomass and gain economic profit by enabling access to renewable source of energy.
The CASI project team had to acknowledge, while mapping Si cases, that a number of cases such as BIOMASSER can be difficult categorized as either social or technological innovation. This ‘learning by doing’ process convinced me of the fact that dividing cases into social and technological innovations is artificial.