Consumer-inclusive innovation strategies for the Dutch water supply sector: Opportunities for more sustainable products and services

D.L.T. Hegger, G. Spaargaren, B.J.M. van Vliet, J. Frijns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This article reflects on the consequences of contemporary shifts in the relationships between water utilities, their competitors and domestic end users. Such changing relations come along with the development of new more sustainable products and services. By distinguishing between ‘upstream’ vs. ‘downstream’ and ‘core’ vs. ‘non-core’ innovations in water supply, a conceptual tool was developed and applied to analyse innovations in the Dutch water supply sector both from a provider and a consumer perspective. To assess the role of (eco)innovations in the Dutch water supply sector, the paper reviews current trends in water consumption; consumers’ perception of water services and contemporary innovation strategies of water supply companies. Based on focus group discussions with both water professionals and water consumers, new roles and products for Dutch water supply companies were identified. It was shown that there are fits as well as misfits in the ways in which providers and consumers tend to look at the future of sustainable water supply. Knowing about and relating to consumer preference and practices can be instrumental for water providers when developing new products, services, images and roles
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
JournalNJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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