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A design research report in association with SusLab at the Royal College of Art


The Team

Lynn Chung lynn.chung@network.rca.ac.uk

Ted Hunt ted.hunt@network.rca.ac.uk

Saejin Lee saejin.lee@network.rca.ac.uk

Niall Morahan niall.morahan@network.rca.ac.uk

JK Yoon jong.yoon@network.rca.ac.uk


Contents 1

Executive Summary

2

Introduction

3-4

Research Phase 1: Mapping the Terrain

5-6

Research Phase 2: ‘Typical’ Users and their Thoughts on Energy

7-8

Research Phase 3: Extreme Users - Heavy Users and Self-Generators

9

Refining our Programme of Research

10-12 Research Phase 4: In-depth Research With Communities - ‘Emotional’ Energy 13

Framing the Problem

14

Redefining the Brief; Lead User Persona - Say Hello to Hana; Ideation

15

Proposed Design - Service Proposition

16

Additional Personas - Meet Dana & Hugo

17-18

People Power: A New Type of Energy Provider

19-24 People Power: The Brand 25-26 Service Pathway - Hana’s Journey 27-28 Service Pathway - Dana’s Journey 29-30 Service Pathway - Hugo’s Journey 31

Business Model

32

Seeding Strategy

33-34 Service Blueprint 35

The Vision

36

Thank You


Executive Summary Though many people are aware of the need to cut their energy use, they often don’t know how to start. When they do, the rewards may seem distant, abstract or insignificant. This project links energy savings to a tangible reward that is meaningful at a human level. People Power is a new energy provider that helps people fund projects in their communities through their energy savings. Community projects are immediately relatable to people, and do a lot of good in communities. However, they are often in need of more funding and exposure. People Power achieves this by linking them to our members, who support them through crowdsourced funding - creating a new narrative for saving energy. Our members learn about the projects as they become empowered to save energy. They receive monthly savings targets and tips to help meet them. Over time, as they build energy-saving efficacy, we hope to help them with home insulation, selfgeneration and beyond.

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Introduction In the UK, domestic energy consumption accounts for nearly one third of all energy used and makes a significant contribution to our national greenhouse gas emissions. Despite general awareness of the need to cut down, people have been resistant to change. In order to avoid the grave consequences of continued over-use, it will be necessary to develop innovations that can galvanise people into action. Our brief was set by the SusLabs team at the RCA, who had already been researching the topic of home energy use. Their research had identified that people found it hard to manage their energy use in the home because it was ‘invisible’ to them - they only thought in terms of appliances, rather than the energy that was powering them. The brief asked us to identify ways to improve people’s understanding of energy use in the home, in order to support them to use energy more wisely. The brief noted that the installation of smart meters in homes is a step towards this, but that people have difficulty interpreting the information delivered in terms of numbers - in this case KWh. We needed to make energy visible, but more than that, we needed to make it relatable to people.

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Research Phase 1: Mapping the Terrain What we did Domestic energy is a topic that is receiving massive amounts of attention at the moment, at all levels of society. To begin, we did some desk research looking at the major conversations around energy that were unfolding in the public sphere. Along with reading, googling and speaking with people in our networks, we also attended conferences and talks across London and beyond to understand current happenings and considerations in the domestic energy space. Some highlights included a lecture on climate justice at LSE, the RCA’s own Sustain Talks, the Design Futures exhibition at the Science Museum, and a trip to Vienna’s GtR Research institute and Technology Museum

Electricity consumption experience kit with bike generator at Technology Museum of Vienna

S-House in Vienna

SustainTalks on Radical New Communities at Royal College of Art 3


What we found The main thing we found was a wave of anger with the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers, who in recent times have been continually raising their prices, leading to a public outcry and much private dissatisfaction.1 Another stream of conversation was about energy reduction - this came from both the government, trying to meet the demands of the Kyoto protocol, and from private interest groups. Both groups have been trying to encourage people to cut their energy consumption. However, they have been largely unsuccessful to this point. The spectacular failure of the Govt’s ‘Green Deal’ initiative was one particularly poignant example of how current approaches are failing to resonate.2 We also found some positive surges, most notably the growing community energy movement happening across Europe, and across the UK. Groups of like-minded individuals are springing up and changing the paradigm by producing their own (renewable) energy locally. We became extremely interested in the grassroots energy and positive sum outcomes generated by these initiatives.3 We were also interested by the fact that these initiatives emerged as part of a broader rebirth of community initiatives happening all over the UK, which is still gaining momentum. With these thoughts fresh in our minds, we moved into the primary research phase.

Russell Brand on The Guardian Among other things, this was evidenced by the massive outpouring of support for Russell Brand’s public attack on the ‘economic elite’, who are destroying the environment and maintaining inequality http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YR4CseY9pk 2 e.g. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0a2d702c-2c11-11e3-8b20-00144feab7de.html 3 e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/dec/18/government-community-energy-strategy-revolution 1


Research Phase 2: ‘Typical’ Users and their Thoughts on Energy What we did For our initial primary research, we cast the net wide - looking both at ‘average’ or ‘typical’ users, and at extreme users. To achieve this, we combined street interviews with probe packs - fun, illustrated booklets that we allowed people to take away and return to us, or to complete on the spot if they wished. In these, we mixed practical questions - aiming to understand things like people’s weekly energy use and their views on saving energy - and more exploratory questions - like ‘if you could take one electrical device to a desert island, what would you take?

Research - probe packs

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What we found Our work with the ‘average’ sample confirmed many of the initial findings from the SusLabs team, including the ‘invisibility’ of energy. Further than this, we found that not only was saving energy a low priority for many people, but that they felt patronised and alienated by those telling them to reduce their usage. The people we spoke to were angry with the Big Six for failing to treat them as humans. “We are just money to them at the end of the day.”, one woman told us. This confirmed the findings from our initial desk research. What was more of a surprise to us was the analogous failure of the other side - those who would have us reduce our energy use. One older gentleman commented

“They tell us to turn down the heating and wear more jumpers, but they would not give this advice to their own parents!”

Hamza

By focusing only on numbers (emission figures) rather than people, this group was also falling short. They were speaking to people in a transactional way, rather than one that could be mutually transformational. This went some way to explain why their communications had been failing to break through. We realised that because people were trapped between these two forces that viewed people fundamentally as consumers, and discussed energy savings purely in terms of number and statistics, domestic energy savings had no human meaning for people. We reflected on this finding as we moved to our next phase of research extreme users.

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Research Phase 3: Extreme Users - Heavy Users and Self-Generators What we did We continued our initial primary research by broadening our focus once again, to take in extreme user groups - in ‘design speak,’ we reached the widest points of the first diamond in the ‘double diamond’ process. In our work with extreme users, we wanted to discover more about what made energy meaningful or meaningless to people, in order to gain insights that would inform our design. We looked at two contrasting types of extreme user - those who were heavy, unconscientious users of energy, and those who had an atypical energy supply boaters, squatters and participants of Brixton Energy, a community energy group. Methodologically, we continued with our interviews and our probe packs, as they had been successful in generating interesting responses the first time round. As we were looking for specific types of people, we had to move beyond grabbing from the street, to leveraging our networks and targeting specific places we were likely to find them. One highlight was a visit to the famous squatted community centre in Hackney, 195 Mare Street, where we met some interesting sorts… Another highlight was meeting Agamemnon and his team at Brixton energy and seeing the amazing work they are doing in the community.

Interview - Agamemnon and his team at Brixton Energy

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What we found From the heavy, conscientious users, we found that energy had been pushed to the very fringes of their lives - they never thought about it. It was not that they were maliciously using too much, more that it simply wasn’t salient.

“I feel guilty that I don’t feel guilty,” This confirmed much of the initial findings around energy use being linked to visibility.

Emily

Boaters and squatters gave us another view - here energy was extremely salient, because of the necessity of constantly sourcing and monitoring it.

Boaters in particular had a clear idea of what energy was really worth - how much it took to clean the dishes, to take a hot shower, to run the laptop. This ability to quantify energy in terms of things - in this case tangible outcomes - allowed them to much better manage its use. However, we realised that this ability had rose out of necessity - boaters needed to work from a portable energy storage system, and were extremely motivated to do this. They were exceptional individuals, undergoing a compromise to attain a type of lifestyle - we needed to find a way of adding meaning by giving, rather than by taking away.

Research - Probe Pack from boaters

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We found the seeds of this at Brixton Energy, the community energy group we worked closely with. Here, it was the narrative around the energy that was empowering people and giving them the sense of ownership. We saw firsthand that it was the sense of togetherness and community that was driving the project, by giving a sense of meaning to the energy. “This was never about energy”, the leader of the project told us. “This was always about people”. This insight allowed us to refine our research programme for the next phase.

Refining our Programme of Research We had identified that we needed to bring more meaning to the energy in people’s lives, and we had also seen how Brixton Energy had effectively done this through using it to empower and mobilise the community. We resolved to harness this type of ‘human’ energy also. We identified a key group of users to focus on. These were people who were community-minded but not necessarily energy-minded. We recognised that this group had a high appetite for the type of ‘human energy’ that we had seen unlocked in Brixton, and were ripe for mobilisation. We decided to work closely with this group, to see how we could bring all of this together into a design solution.

Lead Users - community-minded people

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USER MAP

COMMUNITY/INCLUSIVE

Lead User Brixton Energy Organization

Lead User

Agamemnon (Brixton Energy)

Vast Middle

Vast Middle

ENERGY AGNOSTIC

ENERGY AWARE

extreme passive users cost is not a barrier environmentally unaware

extreme active users cost is barrier environmentally aware

RECLUSIVE

Research Phase 4: In-depth Research With Communities ‘Emotional’ Energy What we did The second half of our research involved delving deeper into the lives and mindsets of our lead user group. We spent time with people who fit the psychographic profile we were looking for, conducting deeper-level interviews, mapping their weekly ‘journeys’ as they used energy and interacted with their communities, and presenting them with design ‘provotypes’ to spur conversation.

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What we found We gained some rich insights. These were: It’s about emotional energy When we went to interview our users, we found that saving energy was not high on the priority list, for two reasons: A. There were more immediately important human problems they were concerned about. One gentleman told us,

“We don’t care about physical energy. What about emotional energy? People today are lonely and alienated. There is no sense of community. This is what concerns us.”

11

Michael


Watch videos and fall asleep

Attend community group gathering

B. They were extremely busy in their daily lives. Mapping the weekly ‘user journey’ of one of our users, we noticed that she experienced a large dip in mood every day after she finished a long work shift. Her energy use was highest when she came home, and had to have tea, watch a few videos and turn the heating up “just to get back to normal”. Many of the users told us that after a hard day at work, energy is the last thing on their mind. The happiest points were when people went out to engage with her community, doing - but we heard again and again that our users didn’t manage to engage as often as they would like, due to busy schedules. Community Projects: A human type of energy, powering our society The more time we spent with our community-minded users, the more we saw first hand the incredible projects that are going on in communities, and touching the lives of many people. We started to realise that there was a very potent form of emotional or human energy playing out each day, and we became very interested in how we could work with this. What were the barriers to these projects? Could we link them to domestic energy savings? All of this thinking gave us the grounding we needed to put together a defined problem statement.

12


Framing the problem Through our research, we had discovered the following: • Currently, saving energy is relatively meaningless in terms of people’s day-to-day lives. • People feel patronised by current attempts to get them to use less - which often take a negative approach. • There is a need for a new, positive narrative around energy that adds meaning and relatability. • There is great positive energy in the many community projects springing up across the UK. • Brixton Energy had successfully used the power of community to bring meaning to energy.

13


Redefining the brief This findings allowed us to more tightly frame our problem statement. We zeroed in on the following:

How could we use the human energy in our communities to make energy savings relatable and meaningful for people? Lead User Persona - Say Hello to Hana Hana is a 32 year-old schoolteacher who is active in her community, but doesn’t always get as involved as she should, because of her stressful job. She is extremely passionate about community projects, but saving energy is not high on her priority list - she thinks it’s great if you can do it, but there are more important issues to address. And besides, she’s too busy!

Hana Ideation Through our research, we realised that our solution had to do several things. It had to… • Bring meaning to energy • Empower communities • Be human and relatable at the human scale • Provide an alternative to the big six We had been ‘ideating’ the whole way along, so when we reached the official stage we had several ideas on the table. We spent a few weeks trying and discarding ideas. Initially, we focused on growing community energy groups through providing an alternative to the big six, but the idea was still too broad. We needed a cleaner, more single-minded proposition. We returned to our core persona Hana, and her need for ‘emotional energy’ again and again, and eventually we landed on a clear offering. 14


Proposed design - service proposition The Idea

Turning energy savings into crowdsourced funding for community projects. We realised that the new narrative of energy we needed had been under our noses the entire time. The joy and positive energy of the community projects that we had witnessed since the start of the project gave us a way to use energy to bring people together, imbuing it with new meaning. It was win-win - the projects would get the funding they needed, the people would get to engage with projects without giving up too much of their time or earnings, and energy would be both saved and understood in a new way.

In order to round out our proposition, we developed two new personas, based on other ‘users’ we needed to consider.

USER MAP

COMMUNITY/INCLUSIVE

Lead User Brixton Energy Organization

Hana

Vast Middle

Hugo

Agamemnon (Brixton Energy)

Other Users

Vast Middle

ENERGY AGNOSTIC

ENERGY AWARE

extreme passive users cost is not a barrier environmentally unaware

extreme active users cost is barrier environmentally aware

Dana

15

RECLUSIVE


Additional Personas - Meet Dana & Hugo

Hugo is the leader of his local community group, whose aim is to make his local area a nicer place to live, with a focus on bringing more culture into the area, and also helping local children to live fuller lives. Along with the other group members, he works with the council and other stakeholders from the community to create playgrounds and parks and to run projects such as pop-up theatres, literary festivals and summer parties. Hugo set the group up himself and is extremely passionate about its activities.

Hugo

Dana is Hana’s friend. She is 31 and works as an accountant. She is not actively involved in community groups, but she attends events that Hana organises sometimes. She thinks that Hana does great work in the community, but she is not as passionate as Hana - “I don’t know how she does it!” she says “but I support her any way I can.”

Dana

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People Power: A New Type of Energy Provider In order to achieve our goal of turning energy savings into crowdsourced funding for community projects, we created a new energy provider: People Power. People Power empowers people to contribute to community energy projects that they are passionate about by helping them to save energy. When people sign up for People Power, they receive a fixed rate based on their projected energy use, which is derived from their previous use and other factors such as seasonality. We then encourage and help them to save, and any savings they make below the fixed rate go to the community project. Each month, members are introduced to the project they will be supported, and given a target for savings, along with three tips to help them get there. Many of our members will have signed up through one of the community groups we partner with. Others may sign up directly via the website, and select which groups and projects they would like to support. During the month, members can monitor their progress on our central platform, and request more tips if they wish. At the month’s end, they receive a report detailing how they performed, and details of how the project has benefited. As they help different projects and watch them grow, so they become more advanced in saving energy. As they build their efficacy, we hope to help them with home insulation, self-generation and beyond.

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Platform - Project Menu

Platform - Progress Report

Platform - Energy Savings Report

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People Power: The Brand The People Power brand was of utmost importance for us, helping to communicate the outlook, values and feelings we wished to champion. We spent time working out our values and the personality we should embody - and how we should represent these through our look and feel. Purpose The purpose of People Power is to make energy more meaningful to people. Values People Power has three core values: empowerment, relatability and making connections. Personality Using the Myers-Briggs typology, we realised that People Power was an ENFJ type; ‘The Teacher’ or ‘The Giver.’ ENFJs revel in bringing people together, helping them and watching them succeed. One famous person with an ENTJ-type personality is Oprah Winfrey. We used the Oprah archetype as a novel tool to imbue our service and communications with correct personality and tone of voice. For example, we realised it was important not only to teach people about saving energy, but also to promote the projects themselves - giving them a wider platform and letting people know what is going on in their communities. We also made sure our copy was both clear in its message and warm toward those reading it. Look and Feel The brand logo uses the Gotham typeface- the typographic icon on the upper right edge of the lock-up is a series of four P’s coming together, which demonstrates people coming together to motivate each other and to make a collective difference.v The exponential impact of the People Power initiative is implied in the placement of the icon in the upper right hand corner. The minty teal color is used to create a friendly personality.

19


Brand Guidelines Logo

20


Brand Guidelines Logo and Tagline

21


22


Brand Guidelines Typeface

Color

R5 G244 B203 C59 M0 Y36 K0 #00F4CB

23

R0 G75 B136 C100 M78 Y19 K5 #004B88

R5 G224 B255 C57 M0 Y5 K0 #05E0FF


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Service Pathway - Hana’s Journey

Attends community meeting

Complete and submit an application

1

3

2

Consideration: Receive a pack with People Power details

25

Get an energy reading and a fixed rate during the six week switchover through the People Power platform 5

4

Switch onto People Power through PeoplePower.org


Meet your target energy saving and help completeĹ a project

Receive energy savings tips from the platform 7

Tips

6

Receive an intro video of the project and savings target for the month

9

kWh

8

Save energy and achieve your monthly targets

Introduce next month’s project and targets

26


Service Pathway - Dana’s Journey

Get an energy reading and a fixed rate during the six week switchover through the People Power platform

Complete and submit an application

Dana chats with Hana 1

3

5

!

2

Consideration: Receive a pack with People Power details

27

4

Switch onto People Power through PeoplePower.org


Meet your target energy saving and help completeĹ a project

Receive energy savings tips from the platform 7

Tips

6

Receive an intro video of the project and savings target for the month

9

kWh

8

Save energy and achieve your monthly targets

Introduce next month’s project and targets

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Service Pathway - Hugo’s Journey

Shares about People Power at community meeting

Receives a call from People Power and says he’s interested 1

3

3

2

Consideration: Receives a pack with People Power details

29

Completes and submits an application for funding

6

Makes an intro video of the project for funding


A new community project is uploaded to platform 5

Energy savings from group savings funds the project 5

kWh

4

If application is successful, members are signed up

8

Motivates the community with tips and project progress Introduce next month’s project and targets

30


Business Model We buy energy in a bundle from larger suppliers, similarly to how GiffGaff do for mobile phones minutes. We operate in a lean manner, allowing community groups to help us with acquisition, motivation and support.

31


Seeding Strategy We approach community groups who regularly fundraise and sign them up along with 150+ people from their fundraising network. We would trial it with one group, test and iterate and try with ten, then a hundred.

1

100

10

32


Service Blueprint

Physical Evidence

Contract

Call Center

User Journey

Community Meeting

Consideration

Register Interest

Meeting with People Power

! Community User Journey Phone Call

Consideration

Inform Members

Take note of those interested

Apply a

Process Flow

Buy Bulk Energy

Front Line Employees

Gather customers

Make Calls

Visit

Support Staff

IT

Management

Contract

33

Send Pack

Ju App


Welcome Pack Distributed

Bill/Enery Savings Report

Platform

Tip s

kWh

with ower

Vote

Wait

Sign Up

Introduce first challenge and tip

Save energy and track progress

Successful Enrollment

Sign up members in community

Encourage

Receive funding through savings

Payoff

!

e of ested

Apply as a group

Supply Energy

Invest

Present Funds

t

Send Pack

Judge Application

Provide Tips

Monitor

Balance

Send Bill

Priorities Communities

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The Vision Over time, this network would create individuals who are totally empowered in terms of their domestic energy, even generating their own energy and selling back to the grid. It will also help community projects to flourish. Many of these will actually be energy projects - crowdfunding is a fast-growing trend for renewable energy projects in Europe. Once we reach a critical mass of these off-grid micro-producers of renewable energy, the vision is to buy this energy back, and use an increasing amount of this in the mix we sell people.

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Thank You You can reach us at PeoplePowerEnergy@gmail.com for any questions, comments or thoughts.

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People Power  

A design research report in partnership with SusLabNWE

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