Senior researcher Unthinkable Marketing

Job title
Senior researcher Unthinkable Marketing
Research group
  • Unthinkable Marketing

Charlotte Kobus is a senior researcher at the Unthinkable Marketing professorship.

It is a theme that occupied her for a long time: consuming less and better. Her research started with less and better energy consumption by households in her PhD, but she wanted to broaden it. As a teacher at TU Delft | Industrial Design Engineering, Charlotte has increasingly tried to critically train young designers: what do you bring into the world? What value does it have and what ‘breaks’? Her focus has shifted from designer to marketer. She is concerned with issues such as: what does marketing look like in an economy that is not growing, or even shrinking? Marketing has developed to exert increasing influence on consumers for their own growth, which means that placing full responsibility on the consumer (the ‘responsible consumer’) for purchasing behavior is not fair. What if marketers let go of that influence? So what is marketing?


Charlotte started her academic career with a PhD research into how households can be encouraged to make energy use at home more sustainable. After her PhD, she continued to teach at the Industrial Design faculty in Delft, her alma mater. In addition to her academic experience, she has extensive practical experience. First working on the energy transition and on internal innovation management projects at a grid operator. Later she had a co-creation agency with a partner and worked for various public and private clients.


Industrial design, marketing & consumer behavior, research & behavioral change, sustainability, energy (transition). Other interests and experience: systemic design, dialogue, collaboration, co-creation, change issues, learning & development, greening of city gardens (planting and garden design, permaculture design).


A first study is an internal investigation into which marketing theories and practices are promoted and taught to young entrepreneurs at Avans and which share of these still has its roots in an ideology that stands in the way of innovation – which we as a society are waiting for. and encourages overconsumption. And of course we want to answer: which part is already based on Wellbeing Economy and New Entrepreneurship and what is needed to further develop this part? This research therefore provides a snapshot of the transition, in order to initiate the conversation within Avans about which Entrepreneurial Marketing (EM) education to provide and to further support the transition.

PhD: A switch by design: User-centered design of smart energy technologies to change habits of using energy at home


  • Demarketing (met Marco Kuijten)
  • Lean for Social Enterprises (met Alinda Kokkinou)
  • Greenwashing (met Geert Kastelijn)
  • Planned Obsolescence (met Susan Kleijsen)

Charlotte on a sustainable future:

If it is actually easier to imagine the end of human existence than the end of the current capitalist system, it's time for more reflection on those stuck beliefs and time for more imagination and action.

Een selectie uit de publicaties van en/of met Charlotte:
Teaching aspiring industrial designers to understand value(s) TU Delft Open · 8 dec. 2022 Responsiveness of residential electricity demand to dynamic tariffs: Experiences from a large field test in the Netherlands Applied Energy, Elsevier · 1 dec. 2016 Minder energieverbruik dankzij slimme gadgets Volkskrant · 18 jun. 2016 De spits mijden achter het stopcontact Financieele Dagblad · 27 mei 2016 Energieverbruik van bewoners BNR | Bouwmeesters · 11 mei 2016 A switch by design: User-centred design of smart energy technologies to change habits of using energy at home TU Delft · 29 apr. 2016 Load shifting potential of the washing machine and tumble dryer IEEE · 4 apr. 2016 A real-life assessment on the effect of smart appliances for shifting households’ electricity demand Applied Energy, Elsevier · 1 jun. 2015 Long-term influence of the design of energy management systems on lowering household energy consumption International Journal of Sustainable Engineering, Taylor & Francis · 4 mei 2015 Slimme warmtepomp let op energieprijs Energie+ · 8 dec. 2014 Smart grids in de parktijk Energie+ · 4 dec. 2013 Smart energy households' pilot projects in The Netherlands with a design-driven approach IEEE · 6 okt. 2013 Evaluation of washing machine load potential for smart grid integration IEEE · 2 sep. 2013 Washing when the sun is shining! How users interact with a household energy management system Ergonomics, Taylor & Francis Group · 1 mrt. 2013 Integrated Design of a demand-side management system IEEE · 5 dec. 2011 User centric design of smart grid: a social and economical approach CIRED · 1 jan. 2011