It was recently announced that engineers working for Tesla are aiming to change the life expectance of car batteries from to five to six years to ten years. Dr. Maurizio Catulli, director of Re-Engineering Business for Sustainability, is working on a number of projects focusing on sustainable business models, one of these projects, “The one million mile electric car” explores the feasibility of long life electric vehicles and in particular, their consumption challenges.
Dr Catulli has benefited from support from RADMA – here he describes his research interests.
What support did you get from RADMA and how did it help you?
I have achieved a PhD in design, through a Viva Voce examination on 3 April 2019. RADMA funded my doctoral studies at the Open University, enabling me to transfer to a part time contract with my employer the University of Hertfordshire. The funds allowed for a monthly stipend, which enabled me to dedicate my time to the PhD program. In November 2017, RADMA also funded my participation to the PLATE conference (https://www.plateconference.org/second-plate-conference/) in Delft. This conference was very important as it allowed me to test my conceptual framework at a doctoral workshop
Please can you outline the topic of your research at the time you received the RADMA support and details of any outputs (presentations, papers)?
My doctoral project focused on a design theme, Product Service System (PSS), system of products and services, supporting networks and infrastructure designed to be resource efficient. The focus was on social and cultural dynamics shaping PSS consumption. From a R&D perspective the findings inform research strategies to test these sustainable innovations. Details of outputs include:
- Catulli, M., Cook, M. and Potter, S. (2017), “Consuming use orientated product service systems: A Consumer Culture Theory perspective”, Journal of Cleaner Production, 141 (1186-1193)
- Catulli, M., Cook, M. and Potter, S. (2016), “PSS Users and Harley Davidson Riders: the importance of consumer identity in the diffusion of sustainable consumption solutions”, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 21:5 (1370–1379)
- Catulli, M, Cook, M & Potter, S (2017), ‘ Working with two theoretical perspectives from consumer studies to research Product Service System Consumption’. in , 17, Delft, Conference Proceedings, 459
- Catulli, M, Cook, M & Potter, S (2017), ‘ A Double diffusion of innovations: The case of electric automobility Product Service System’. in , 17, Delft, Conference Proceedings, 76
- Catulli, M, Cook, M & Potter, S (2015), ‘Exploring Liquid Lives and Product Lifetimes’. in , 16, Nottingham, pp. 1-6, PLATE Conf (Product Lifetimes and the Environment), Nottingham, United Kingdom, 17-19 June.
- Catulli, M., Cook, M. and Potter, S. (2014),”What value do consumers really expect from Product Service Systems?”. 19th Sustainable Innovation Conference, Copenhagen, Nov 2014
- Catulli, M., Cook, M. and Potter, S. (2014),” Mapping Transitions towards Sustainable Consumption: Latitudes, Legends and Declinations in the Interaction between Consumer Culture and Sustainable Business Models”, Consumer Culture Theory Conference June 2013,Copenhagen, Finland
Five further outputs are in preparation for submission to a number of journals
What was the most interesting thing that you learnt while working in research (some findings or observations)?
A very important finding was resistance to the uptake of innovations due to incumbent practices. From a R&D perspective, this means that innovation researchers need a full understanding of the social practices consumers are immersed within to understand the dynamics of uptake of innovations.
If someone wanted to learn more about this subject what would you recommend they read?
My thesis, Catulli, M. 2019. An Investigation into the Social and Cultural Dynamics that Shape Product Service Systems Consumption. The Open University, Milton Keines, is a good start, followed by the papers listed above. Then seminal papers are:
- Bardhi, F., and G. M. Eckhardt. 2012. Access-Based Consumption: The Case of Car Sharing. Journal of Consumer Research 39:1-18.
- Mont, O. K. 2002. Clarifying the concept of Product Service System Journal of Cleaner Production 10:237-245.
- Mylan, J. 2015. Understanding the Diffusion of Sustainable Product-Service Systems: Insight from the Sociology of Consumption and Practice Theory. Journal of Cleaner Production 97:13-20.
What are you doing now and does this build on your knowledge of R&D Management?
I am a professional academic engaged with a research group spanning The Open University and the University of Hertfordshire. I am involved in a number of projects focusing on sustainable business models, one of these projects, “The one million mile electric car” explores the feasibility of long life electric vehicles and in particular, their consumption challenges.
What do you think RADMA offers the research community?
RADMA has an extremely important role in supporting researchers involved in innovation, which might contribute social and sustainability benefits. RADMA’s contribution is material and practical, such as funding, but RADMA also represents, through the journal R&D Management and their conference, a point of aggregation for all researchers involved in R&D and innovation research.
Dr. Maurizio Catulli, PhD, MSc, MA, MCIM, FHEA
Senior Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire