This article explores the challenges, advantages and limitations of the pro-active use of the social construction of technology (SCOT) to improve the methods applied in the development of technology for use by a broad range of actors. Our example is the development of environmental indicators for buildings (EIFOBs). We compare the pro-active use of SCOT with both the 'traditional' use of SCOT and with the 'traditional' way of developing EIFOBs. pro-actively applying SCOT in developing EIFOBs has the potential of bridging some of the communication gaps at the boundaries between the various professional groups in a multi-actor decision-making process. Using SCOT in a pro-active way means the research becomes action research and the researcher goes beyond the role of a mere observer and becomes an actor too. This means the researcher has to consider the criteria for valid action research when designing and carrying out the research. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.