, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 59–74 | Cite as

One Site—Multiple Visions: Visioneering Between Contrasting Actors’ Perspectives

  • Franziska Engels
  • Anna Verena Münch
  • Dagmar Simon
Original Paper


Visions of and narratives about the future energy system influence the actual creation of innovations and are thus accompanying the current energy transition. Particularly in times of change and uncertainty, visions gain crucial relevance: imagining possible futures impacts the current social reality by both creating certain spaces of action and shaping technical artifacts. However, different actors may express divergent visions of the future energy system and its implementation. Looking at a particular innovation site involving multiple stakeholders over an 8-year period, we empirically analyze the collective negotiation process of vision making, its shifting over time, and how visions eventually unfold performativity. Adopting a process perspective, we identify four different phases and the respective functions of visions and visioneering related to the site’s development by exploring the question: Why do certain visions gain importance and eventually lead to substantial changes of the project in process? Qualitative data from documents and interviews analyzed with reference to science and technology studies show the interweaving conditions that influence the visioneering and the linkage to the actual development of material artifacts. Against the backdrop of innovation projects, this paper explores visioneering as an ongoing, transformative and collective process and reveals its moments of (de)stabilization.


Vision Visioneering Innovation projects Performativity Material artifacts 



The research project “D3 Micro Smart Grid EUREF” was part of the promotional program called “International Showcase of Electric Mobility (Berlin-Brandenburg)” that was being funded by the federal government as well as by the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg for a period of 3 years (03/2013–06/2016) as part of the federal government’s Showcase initiative. The project’s objective was the development and testing of a micro smart grid (MSG) at a designated local area. The accompanying social scientific research in this project was conducted by the TU-Campus EUREF gGmbH, an institute at the Technische Universität Berlin.

The authors would like to thank the editors of this special section as well as the hosts and participants of the session “Visioneering Sociotechnical Innovations: The Making of Visions” at the First International Conference on Anticipation in Trento (Italy), 5–7 November 2015 for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franziska Engels
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Anna Verena Münch
    • 4
  • Dagmar Simon
    • 1
  1. 1.WZB Berlin Social Science CenterBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), Technical University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.TUM School of Management, Technical University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.TU-Campus EUREF gGmbHBerlinGermany

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