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Dr. Jörg Musiolik

Dr. Jörg Musiolik

Dr. Jörg Musiolik

ZHAW School of Engineering
Team Sustainable Energy Systems
Technoparkstrasse 2
8400 Winterthur

+41 (0) 58 934 47 92

Personal profile

Position at the ZHAW

Lecturer in the field of innovation and transformation energy industry, urban transformation and smart city, innovation management and bionics/biomimicry, electromobility and sector coupling

Professional development teaching

Expertise and research interests

My research is rooted in concepts and theories from the academic fields of innovation studies and sustainability transitions (Markard, J. et al 2012). I am especially interested in studying how new configurations around radical sustainable technologies emerge, diffuse and transform established sectors in the energy domain (e.g. in which phases and with which policy and governance issues the energy transition evolves). In recent years, I have focused on four lines of research: i) A micro-level foundation and the development of the technological innovation systems (TIS) concept towards a tool for analyzing transitions; ii) Sector coupling and the interplay of different technologies or systems in transitions iii) Social innovation in energy and the roles of social networks and actor collectives in transitions. iv) Smart cities and the transformation of urban socio-technical infrastructure systems.

I. A micro-level foundation and the development of the technological innovation systems (TIS) concept towards a tool for analyzing transitions
In my PhD, I have drawn on the technological innovation systems (TIS) concept which was initially used to analyze the development of radical technologies such as wind, photovoltaics and stationary fuel cells in the energy sector. The main goal of my PhD was to discover how actor strategies and joint innovation activities contribute to the creation of interlinked meso-level structures such as standards, legitimation of technologies, support programs or services structures as part of broader supportive TIS. In my publications, I analyzed formal networks, introduced the concept of system resources and extended the management literature’s resource-based view with a new strategically relevant type of resource alongside the concept of company and network resources (Musiolik and Markard 2011). In addition, we developed an analytical framework of resources at the company, network and system level to study the role and capacities of different networks in innovation system building (Musiolik, Markard 4 and Hekkert 2012). This framework was further deployed to analyze different system building strategies, and to examine how the creation of supportive TIS structures depends on resource constellations at a certain point in time (Musiolik et al 2020). All of the published papers have been presented at various conferences, including IST and Academy of Management, are highly cited, and have had an impact on different research communities (e.g. economic geography, management and innovation studies). Currently, we are trying to extend the TIS conceptualization to make it fit for studying new phenomena of transitions, e.g. sector coupling and multi-system interplay (c.f. next section).

II. Sector coupling and the interplay of different technologies or systems in transitions
Sector coupling is a key concept in the ongoing energy transition and refers to the efficient integration of complementary innovations in adjacent sectors such as mobility or ICT. In my ongoing research on sector coupling, I focus on V2G technology, i.e. the deployment of EV batteries for the integration of renewables and providing grid services. Research on sector coupling has so far been focused on technology implementation. However, V2G is a systemic innovation in which different technical parts such as V2G EVs, charging stations and digital platforms have to be adapted and combined with broader social and regulatory changes, like for example the shaping of DSO flexibility markets, changes in mobility practices and shaping the social acceptance of V2G. V2G, therefore, depends on simultaneous and coordinated developments in the associated sectors, which requires coherent policy support and complex governance. My research has contributed to a better understanding of the potential and challenges of V2G technology. We analyzed the challenges and potentials of V2X for districts and self-consumption communities (ZEV) in Switzerland (Musiolik 2019, Musiolik et al to be summited) and also researched socio-technical-and organizational variants and potential aggregator business models in a future market (Musiolik and Markard 2020). In a current SFOE project, we are identifying viable socio-technical pathways and supportive policies for V2G implementation. Drawing on international best practices from leading countries, we explore V2G technology development, assess the potential of different user segments (fleet operators, individuals), digital platforms and aggregators (electric utilities, charging station operators), and analyze how technologies and actor roles align with cross-sectoral competences (e.g. in ICT) and electricity systems.
III. Social innovations and the role of social networks and actor collectives in transitions
Following my PhD, I have broadened my research in the field of (innovation) networks and actor collectives in transitions. The main goal of this line of inquiry was to analyze the importance of non-technical innovations and governance and organizational issues. My research activities in this field were financed by the Competence Center for Research in Energy, Society and Transition (CREST) and SONNET – SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS (EU Horizon 2020). In these projects, we analyzed (social) network aspects of sustainable transitions and compared regional, sectoral, virtual and cooperative-based initiatives in the energy domain. Among others, we studied energy cooperatives, self-consumption communities, municipality-based initiatives and the role of energy labels in Switzerland. This research revealed that networks and actor collectives provide infrastructures to organize collective action, solve common problems of new technologies, and help to promote sustainable technologies and practices. Regional, sectoral, virtual and cooperative-based initiatives, however, vary in their abilities to provide such infrastructures and to take organized strategic actions. While regional initiatives mainly depend on municipality support, face-to-face contacts and resources such as joint knowledge and trust among the members, virtual initiatives such as lead user platforms depend more on the accumulation of individual resources (e.g. information and knowledge) and spontaneous collective activities (as opposed to organized communities). Sectoral initiatives are also mainly influenced by competition and represent temporary organizations for collective action which draw on collective resources and take joint strategic decisions. These results contribute to a better understanding of actor collectives and networks during transitions and are partly published in (Iskandarova et al 2022) and the SONNET project reports (Schmid, B and Musiolik 2021, Musiolik, J and Müller, L. 2021). Further scientific publications will be submitted in 2023.

IV. The digitalization and transformation of urban socio-technical systems Another field of research is digitalization and its impact on the transformation of urban infrastructure systems. The main idea of this line of research is that cities consist of socio-technical systems in the energy, transport and water domain and that these systems are being transformed as follows: 1) These systems become optimized and coupled through digital technologies 2) A new layer or systems consisting of IoT, artificial intelligence, data strategies, data governance rules and big data platforms is implemented to manage smart cities 3) Municipalities face difficulties to govern and steer this complex transformation over time. Sponsored by the SFOE we have been able to conduct national and international case studies of smart city initiatives. This research revealed that cities deploy different strategies and tools to govern the implementation of smart cities (Musiolik et al. 2020). In another publication, we summarized best practices, tools and typical steps to start, institutionalize, and implement a smart city initiative (Musiolik et al 2019). Currently, in the SNF NFP 77 project Spice, we conduct case studies at a national and international level. We conceptualize developments of smart city sector structures as parts of national innovation systems for smart city development and conduct case studies in Spain, China and Korea. Preliminary results show that standardization, information exchange and up-scaling of smart city solutions critically depend on these organizational structures at a national level. The project’s results have been presented at various conferences and will be published in 2024.

Educational background

2012 PhD University of Utrecht, the Netherlands(field of innovation studies)
2005 Studies of project- and resourcemanagement (University of Kassel)
2004 Diplom Geography, minor economics (University of Marburg)

Professional milestones

Since 2020 Lecturer ZHAW-INE
2014-2020 Research Associate ZHAW-INE
2012-2014 Scientific Advisor Swiss Science and Innovation Council (SSIC)
2008-2012 PhD Eawag, Research Group CIRUS
2006-2008 Research Assistant City of Dortmund
2004-2005 Project Assistant / Consultant Institute for Social-Ecological Research / Prognos AG

Membership of networks



Articles in scientific journal, peer-reviewed
Other publications

Publications before appointment at the ZHAW

Musiolik, J., Markard, J., Hekkert, M.P. (2012) Networks and network resources in technological innovation systems: towards a conceptual framework for system-building. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 79, 1032–1048.

Musiolik, J., Markard, J., (2012) Collective resources in technological innovation systems in: Decker, M., Grunwald, A., Knapp, M. (Eds.), Der Systemblick auf Innovation - Technikfolgenabschätzung in der Technikgestaltung. Edition sigma Berlin, 129-140.

Musiolik, J. (2012) Innovation system-building: on the role of actors, networks and resources. The case of stationary fuel cells in Germany. Geowetenschappen Proefschriften. Utrecht University.

Musiolik, J., Markard, J. (2011). Creating and shaping innovation systems: Formal networks in the innovation system for stationary fuel cells in Germany. Energy Policy 39,1909–1922.

Musiolik, J. (2011). External innovation management of energy service providers in Germany. Network Industries Quarterly. Vol. 13, no 2. 14-17.

Musiolik, J. (2007) Buddhismus und innovatives Unternehmertum. Grin Verlag. München.
Musiolik, J. (2007) Konzernbeteiligungen in der Wasserversorgung. Umfang, Geschichte und Folgen. Dr. Müller Verlag. Saarbrücken.

Musiolik, J. (2004) Teilprivatisierung in der deutschen Trinkwasserversorgung. Analyse der Beteiligung von privaten Energie- und Wasserkonzernen an kommunalen Versorgungsunternehmen. Diplomarbeit. Fachbereich Geographie Marburg.

Musiolik, J. (2001) Innovationstheoretische Ansätze in der Wirtschaftsgeographie-Konzepte und Bewertung nationaler und regionaler Innovationssysteme. Grin Verlag. München.

Other publications

Iskandarova, M., Vernay, A.-L., Musiolik, J., Müller, L., Sovacool, B.K.,(2022). Tangled transitions: Exploring the emergence of local electricity exchange in France, Switzerland and Great Britain. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 180, 121677.
Müller, L., Schmid, B., Musiolik, J. (2021). CITY-LEVEL COMPETITION FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY: Switzerland. Research Report, SONNET – SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: EU Horizon 2020 Grant agreements no: 837498, Available at:
Müller, L., Musiolik, J. (2021). D3.2: Report on the findings on the diversity, processes and contributions of SIE-fields and their SIE-initiatives in six countries. Deep dives into social innovation in energy through investigating three SIE-fields and their SIE-initiatives in Switzerland. SONNET – SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: EU Horizon 2020 Grant agreements no: 837498 Available at:
Musiolik, J., Müller, L. (2021) LOCAL ELECTRICITY EXCHANGE: Switzerland. Research Report, SONNET – SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: EU Horizon 2020 Grant agreements no: 837498. Available at:
Schmid, B., Musiolik, J. (2021). Research report on Cooperative Organizational Models for Renewable Energy in Switzerland. Research Report, SONNET – SOCIAL INNOVATION IN ENERGY TRANSITIONS: EU Horizon 2020 Grant agreements no: 837498
Musiolik, J., Lobsiger-Kägi, E., Vögeli, P., Kohler, A., (2021) SMART CITY INITIATIVES TO INCREASE QUALITY OF LIFE AND RESOURCE EFFICIENCY, INUAS conference proceedings 2021, München, pp. 26.
Musiolik, J., Markard, J., Hekkert, M., Furrer, B., (2020). Creating innovation systems: How resource constellations affect the strategies of system builders. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 153, 119209.
Musiolik, J., Müller, L., Carabias, V., (2020). Systemic innovation strategies of smart cities: governance and implementation strategies of four pioneer SC initiatives. Available at: Proceedings of FTAL conference 2021, October 28–29, Lugano, Switzerland.
Müller, L., Sütterlin, B., Carabias, V., Musiolik, J. (2020) Insights from the Swiss Smart City Survey on cities’ priorities and needs. Proceedings of FTAL conference 2021, October 28–29, 2021, Lugano, Switzerland. Available at:
Carabias-Hütter, V., Musiolik, J., Lobsiger-Kägi, E., Vögeli, P., Kohler, A., Yildirim, O., (2020). Supporting the Transformation Process to Smart Sustainable Cities in Switzerland: Implementation Guidelines and Promising Practices. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2020, 25th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. CORP–Competence Center of Urban and Regional Planning, pp. 1187-1189.
Musiolik, J.S., Robert (2020). Elektroautos als Teil des Energiesystems. eco2friendly, 14-15.
Musiolik, J., Kohler, A., Vögeli, P., Lobsiger-Kägi, E. & Carabias-Hütter, V. (2019). Smart City: Leitfaden zur Umsetzung von Smart-City-Initiativen in der Schweiz. Bern: Bundesamt für Energie. DOI 10.21256/zhaw-19406
Musiolik, J. et al. (2019): OKEE-Projekt: Optimierung der Kopplung zwischen Elektrofahrzeugen und (Gebäude-)Energiemanagementsystemen. Ein innovatives Umsetzungsprojekt im Areal Erlenmatt Ost in Basel. Projektbericht. ZHAW Institut für Nachhaltige Entwicklung. Winterthur.
Carabias-Hütter, V., West, M., Yildirim, O., Musiolik, J., (2019). Smart Sustainable Cities: Innovationen für mehr Lebensqualität. eTrends 2019, 14-19. Available at:
Ulli-Beer, S., Kubli, M., Zapata, J., Wurzinger, M., Musiolik, J., Furrer, B. (2017) “Participative modelling of socio-technical transitions: Why and How Should We look beyond the case-Specific energy transition challenge?” Systems Research and Behavioral Science 34, 469-488.
Lobsiger-Kägi, E., Frick, V., Musiolik, J., Moser, C., Carabias-Hütter, V., Bernegger, H., Aurich, I., Bernath, K., Günther, C., (2016). Leitfaden Smarte Quartiere: Ideenentwicklung und Prozessgestaltung für Genossenschaften und andere Akteure der Quartierentwicklung. Stadt Winterthur. Available at:
Musiolik, J., Wurzinger, M. (2015) Wege zu einer neuen Systemarchitektur. Mögliche Transitionspfade in der Elektrizitätsversorgung in der Schweiz. Bulletin SEV/VSE

Further publications at