Speculative Models for the Present

X:

Y:

P[05]Electric Cloud

Location

London [UK]

Year

2016 - 2017

Output

Alternative business model
Strategic road map

Looking at

The energy market

Through the lense of

Semiotics
Strategic foresight
Scenario planning
Data modeling

In the context of

Smart device adoption
Energy market decentralisation
Prosumerism

To generate

Human-centered energy services
Responsible consumption patterns

UAL provided us an opportunity to work on an innovation brief for EDF Energy. Over the course of the project, we used scenario planning to inform a potential strategic repositioning of the company and developed a clear vision of where and why it should move, and an access point to approach the transition. Among other competing groups, we pitched the proposal at an EDF hosted event in June 2016. After negotiations, EDF made a final decision to acquire the intellectual property of our work. Although we are unable to showcase the final proposal we can outline the strategic reasoning upon which it was built. 

C[01]Context

Strategic reports at the time (2015) were making special emphasis on how the combined disruption of data technologies and decentralised sustainable energy production and storage systems would favour a progressive switch to “prosumerism” in the energy market.01

On top of this, the ‘Big Four’ electric companies in the UK were losing their market share in favour of new actors that were perceived as more sustainable and trustworthy.02

01.

This is not necessarily in your best interest when you are the biggest central producer/provider in Europe.

02.

It is harder to rely exclusively on sustainable energy when you operate at this scale.

C[02]The Brief

EDF provided a brief with a set of apparently unconnected problems concerning their public image and their perception among customers. Among them: Lack of an emotional attachment of customers with their brand. Lack of interaction with clients apart from billing, payment, and technical failure. Lack of visibility as electricity is not tangible, not visible, and taken for granted.

C[03]Our Lecture

In return, we provided EDF with a cohesive explanation linking symptoms and causes and future opportunities.

[01]Electricity services are a representation of the physical infrastructure that enables its production and delivery. EDF services, billing, and communications are a representation of the electric grid, not its users.

[02]Electricity is a network of buildings and at this moment the household is its basic unit. People just happen to be linked to their household through ownership or other contractual agreement.

[03]A household is not representative of the nuclear family anymore, and maybe it never was. Alternative family structures emerge as flat sharing becomes the fastest growing occupational model in England.

C[04]Prospective Model

[04]Sensing infrastructures and data modelling techniques hold the potential to create an alternative visualisation model of the energy network, one where individuals – and not buildings – are the basic unit; one where users have a personal energy consumption/production record instead of a household energy consumption bill.

[05]The implications of this switch would be similar to what was witnessed in the telecommunications industry two decades ago, when telephone services moved from our household walls to our pockets with the adoption of the cell phone.

[06]To develop the full potential of this transition, a semiotic switch from energy as a commodity to energy as value must occur. This implies the perception of energy not as a perishable good but as a strategic personal asset, and the conceptualisation of a world where prosumers can buy, sell, share, save, store, invest in, and generate social and capital value from energy.

C[05]Projective Model

[07]Under this new semiotic regime, energy companies would develop a parallel role, not necessarily as producer/provider, but as managers and traders in energy exchange networks.

[08] In order to secure a future proof ambivalent position strategic movements should aim to open new a space of action not above people but but in between them.

C[06]Ambivalent Strategic Position


Electric Cloud provided an entry point and a strategy for EDF to start this transition towards an ambivalent strategic position that would help them thrive in either a centralised or decentralised scenario.

In this case, the question is no longer who is providing the energy, but who is managing the exchange platform.

Projects

Description

Client

P[09]Bio-Fold
FRAKTA Fetish for a Biodegradable Material Culture

IKEA: SPACE10

[+]

Bio-Fold stands at the intersection of material technology and cultural strategy. It deals with critical global issues such as plastic waste, soil scarcity, and deforestation due to agricultural development. Playing with cultural heritage, the project uses FRAKTA, IKEA’s iconic tote bag, as a symbolic device for the introduction of an already existing technology: vacuum bagging, in this case applied to biocomposite materials.

[ ]See Full Project

Location

Copenhagen [Denmark]

Year

2019 - Present

Output

Fabrication method | Digital interface

P[08]Seiche
Automated Bureaucracy as a Pathway to Fluid Citizenship

Strelka Institute: The New Normal

[+]

Overlapping jurisdictions and supranational infrastructures generate an increasingly complex network topology; the design, management, and mapping of their interactions is therefore a crucial task. Seiche is a speculative proposal for a visual programming platform enabling the definition and management of techno-legal procedures of information exchange between institutions that regulate such systems and the organisations that operate within.

[ ]See Full Project

Location

Khorgos [Kazakhstan]

Year

2018 - Present

Output

Speculative short film | Article | Interactive installation

P[07]Siren
Audiovisual Arctic Poem on Connective Alienation

Strelka Institute: The New Normal

[+]

Siren oscillates between the silence of the now deserted destination node of Magadan and the fullness of the fragmented archives that capture its evolution from a place of extraction to a place of archive. It emerges from statistical and interview-based research into port automation and the global inversion of gender patterns in supply chain employment...

[ ]See Full Project

Location

Kolyma [Russia]

Year

2018

Output

Speculative short film

P[06]Æffect
Acid Infused Journal on Innovation Management

UAL: Central Saint Martins

[+]

Æffect grew as a bottom-up student-led initiative to create a strong and self-perpetuating community connecting innovation management students at CSM with alumni, staff and industry leaders through a mentorship scheme, an academic journal and web platform...

[ ]See Full Project

Location

London [UK]

Year

2017 - 2018

Output

Mentorship scheme | Academic journal | Web platform

P[05]Electric Cloud
Decentralised Networks of Energy Exchange

EDF: Électricité de France

[+]

The combined disruption of smart home devices and decentralised energy production and storage systems favour a progressive switch to ‘prosumerism’ in the energy market. Electric Cloud provided a strategy for EDF to adopt an ambivalent position as managers and traders in energy exchange networks, a role that would help them thrive in both a centralised or decentralised scenario...

[ ]See Full Project

Location

London [UK]

Year

2016 - 2017

Output

Business model | Strategic road map

P[04]Critical Firm
Political Conflict as a Business Strategy in the Age of Purpose

Self-directed

[+]

With ongoing, deep, systemic trust crises across western societies, the rise of populist politics can be understood as a failure of corporate social responsibility - the hegemonic identity of the corporate establishment during the last two decades - to engage extensive sectors of a highly polarised population. To reinstate trust among those sectors, the corporate world needs to perform a parallelism that offers symbolic resolutions to the ongoing societal tensions...

[ ]See Full Project

Location

London [UK]

Year

2016 - 2017

Output

Strategic report | System map

P[03]Discourse on Trends
Assembly Toolkit for Authenticity in the Digital Fluid

Self-directed

[+]

A shift towards fluidity in the discourse of authenticity in gender, sexual, and racial identity has already established the generating of a new structure of power and knowledge. As technology continues to dilute the lines between physical and digital space and persona, a new regime of truth on authenticity and identity around fluidity between physical and digital environments will follow…

[ ]See Full Project

Location

London [UK]

Year

2016 - 2017

Output

Strategic report | System map

P[02]Radical Swissness
An Architectural Framework for the Swiss Vernacular

group8

[+]

Define and perfection a framework and methodology for the development of architectural competitions within the Swiss context (a.k.a. domesticating the creative willpower of multidisciplinar international teams to fit the swiss vernacular...

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Location:

Genève [Switzerland]

Year:

2014-2015

Output:

Architectural competition [with several awards]

P[01]UNOG
Energetic Renovation of the United Nations Palace

group8

[+]

In a demonstration of its commitment to the Strategic Heritage Plan, the Swiss Federal Council participated in the renovation of the “Palais des Nations” through a voluntary contribution of CHF 50 million. The aim of the renovation project was to bring The United Nations Palace into line with the concept of a "green building"...

[ ]See Full Project

Location

Genève [Switzerland]

Year

2012 - 2014

Output

Restored building | Automated energy management system