Crowd sourcing has “real potential for informing energy innovation”

Published: 20 September 2017

Collaborative crowdsourcing platforms can have an impact on the transition to a smart, sustainable and secure energy system by helping to identify and prioritise innovation, according to the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC).

The findings came from the ESC’s novel innovation project ‘Crowd Sourcing Energy System Innovation Needs’.

The aim of the experimental project was to investigate how to support decision-makers and the wider energy systems related community to identify and sequence the innovation steps that need to be taken to enable and accelerate the energy transition to a low carbon future. The project included a year-long trial of Percept, a crowdsourcing platform developed by Dysrupt Labs, a company specialising in collective forecasting.

The project took several steps towards improving the way innovation ideas are sourced and prioritised. The experiment yielded valuable insights into the potential uses of crowdsourcing platforms in the UK energy sector. By asking for innovation ideas and applying a trading mechanism to enable their prioritisation, it identified ideas that the user community (consisting of whole-system experts) believes have significant potential for contributing to long-term decarbonisation.

Nick Smailes, Director and Head of External Relations at the Catapult commented: “We are pleased with the results of this experiment and feel that crowdsourcing offers real potential for stimulating innovation and its impact related to the energy transition. The report findings demonstrate the Energy Systems Catapult’s commitment to developing innovative projects and seeking new ways to accelerate the energy system transition. We are hopeful that an interested party will take this work forward, as we are certain that crowd-sourcing will become a valuable tool for decision-makers and the wider whole systems community”.

The report executive summary is available to download and the report is available on request from